I looked inside the window of a tan duplex on the corner of Lane and Shafter expecting to see my grandmother knitting away in her rocking chair. I wanted to walk up the same blue wooden stairs that we so daringly leapt off of as children. I wanted to press the black button to ring the bell then knock on the small window on the front door. I wanted to see the cloth in that window which prevented people from being able to see “all up in her house.” I wanted the door to swing open and I wanted to see her smile and give her the biggest hug I had ever given her. But I knew that I would never be welcomed into that residence again. The closest that I could get to that feeling was to park across the street and stare at it like a voyeur. Hoping that no one would notice me I stayed there for a few minutes until my eyes began to water—then I left before my tears fell.
Its Easter Sunday and I want to hug my grandmother. I want to open my Easter basket in that house. I want to hear her compliment me on my Easter suit. I just want to hear her raspy voice period so that it can galvanize my soul. I want her to talk just enough trash about me to make me humble then I want her to build me back up with memories that only she and I share and in so doing remind me that I will always be her baby.
I still sleep with the batman quilt that she knitted for me. It still keeps me hella warm in the winter. It still makes me sweat in the summer. I rarely wash it because I’m still a nasty little boy.
In the year that she’s been gone I feel like I’ve given too much love. Now I just want to be given love back. I want to feel that love in every season. I want to know that the void that she left has been filled. I want to be made to feel special and I want that to be automatic and not a forced thing—but everyone expresses love differently. And love without physicality isn’t love at all.
I miss the feel of my grandmother’s face. I miss her hugs. I miss the consistency of her presence. I miss seeing my prom picture on her wall. I miss seeing my mother and my aunties’ graduation photos. I miss seeing the pictures of my uncles in their cool suits with their permed hair. I even miss the dichotomy of waking up in the backroom and being able to see my breath but not feeling cold because I was wrapped up in my grandmother’s quilt.
I miss having a home in the Bayview section of San Francisco. I wanted so intensely to ask if I could come inside but I realized that the home is not the structure, the home is she. That tender, down to earth, tough love-giving woman. My home was there because she was there and now there are days when I feel like I have no home to go to. Nowhere to rest my head. No one to put me in check. Even when I sleep all day I wake up tired. I have no place to rest. Nowhere to lay my burdens down. I’m grounded but I have no roots. I am confused. I am disoriented. I want to see her again in that rocking chair. I want to talk to her. I want to be understood.