The crickets are chirping when we finally leave and we walk back to the hotel under a blanket full of stars. The sound of laughter echoes behind us and we stop for a few minutes, sink into the sand, crack open two cold Corona’s and let gratitude wash over us. We talk about the day, the whirlwind of flights, the jet-lag, the heat, the joy, the tired legs, the vows, the kindness of the family, the beauty of it all. Here we are, sitting hip-to-hip in the dark, the ocean roaring at our feet. Here we are chasing our dreams down, to this moment, on a beach in Mexico.
“Hanna,” you say, “I love you. Can you believe that we are here?” And I know, because I am your sister, that you aren’t referring to Mexico or the beach or the brilliance of it all. You are referring to the trail, to the path we have been given to travel, hand-in-hand, our whole lives through. You are referring to getting lost in the woods and finding our way home. To the hide-and-seek, to the dances and drama, to growing up right next to each other. You are referring to falling in love, to standing beside one another at the alter, to hearts filling up with hope. I remember when I told you I was pregnant. I was 22. You couldn’t quit laughing, your eyes just danced. You had the same look, a decade later, when the doctor handed you Peter, your son. You were the Northern Lights ripping across the night sky. In life and in death we travel this trail. In heartbreak, you crawl in my bed and cry beside me. In joy, I dance with you like it’s 1999. It’s always been this way. Whether we are 5 and 10 or 30 and 35. We are here. Together.
Life is funny. It throws a lot of curve balls. Sometimes, just when you think you know how things are going to pan out, just when you become sure of it, everything unravels. Sometimes pain is the river that takes you from one shore to another. Sometimes joy is. We have forged through so many rivers, Heidi, and now, tonight, we have washed up on this beach. Who would have ever thought that through all the blood and sweat and tears and laughter and hope that we would we would both fit into this work of artistry and adventure, that we would unfold our lives and wear them in this way?
Sometimes I wonder if it’s the art that I love or if it’s the art with you that I love? I don’t think I could separate one from the other.
The tide rises and we decide to go pack our bags for the morning.
I love you, too.