One of my defining characteristics is my uncanny ability to recall people's names and the significant (or even insignificant) details about their life. This "power" becomes even greater if I find myself coming into daily contact with you. In elementary school I was always the girl who could tell you first and last names by seating arrangement of my class after the first day, in college I could name your hometown...you get the picture.
Some people are quite envious of this ability, and most days I would agree that this is a pretty sweet thing I've got going on, but there are moments and sometimes hours where such a load of information becomes quite heavy.
You see, I may not remember plots to movies I've seen or titles of books I've read, but I will remember your name, your face and your story. They are always beautiful names, beautiful faces, but sometimes, they are not so beautiful stories.
You should also know that I'm not the type that cries at the movies or while witnessing a beautiful sunset...I don't do it very often. But every once and a while, usually while its quiet in my home or dorm room or apartment...when everyone has gone to bed and I'm brushing my teeth, suddenly, as if I have no control over it at all - it comes. The beautiful faces, the beautiful names and the not so beautiful stories. It's a terrible messy thing, toothpaste and toilet paper and me curled up on the tile floor, wading in a saltwater puddle.
Tonight it was J, one of my 14 year-old boys, who set me off when it hit me that he can't tell time yet. Then that shot me to C, 8, who had to stay home from school Thursday to take care of his baby brother. Then to E and G, 6 and 9, who never get enough too eat or sleep. Then the faces of all my kids who don't know their father. And then there was no stopping it. I went back to my refugee friends in Athens, the faces even more beautiful, the stories even darker...the futures even more uncertain. It's times like these when I wish I could forget the stories, just keep the names and faces. I suppose I would have to give up faces and names, too, to really free myself, but I think its the stories that makes the faces and names so beautiful....sigh.
I pick myself up off the cold floor and decide that tonight I'll fall asleep to some Coldplay. Tomorrow I will wake up, the burden a little lighter, and smile because I know some very beautiful names...I see the most beautiful faces...and I get to be a part of the most beautiful stories.