a li'l love story

when it comes to my collage process, historically the flow is as follows -

idea pops into my head. with giddy excitement, i pull out a selection of colors & textures. make a big ole’ giant mess. scan the result. share with you! clear my head for the next idea to wander in.

and, once in a blue moon, when time & flow allows, i write a story to accompany the collage.

there is no purpose or rhythm to these stories - yet - but rather than pretend like i have it all together - i don’t - i want to invite you to witness the evolution of another of my joys, writing.

now, the story of these little birdies is personal, and perhaps a bit mushy.  but like a mango mush, messy and sweet.

ben & i had an unconventional beginnings to our partnership. beginnings of which are far too drawn out to cover in this story.

suffice to say, that in april 2009 i was doing all i could to clear heartache from my stomach, my throat, my being.

i had recently come to the conclusion that this friend i had long had feelings for needed to be out of my life, for good.

in fact, days earlier i had told him as much with a stiff hug as he got ready to board a plane back to Santo Domingo. at the time, he was living in the Dominican Republic, and i in Honduras. i kindly requested that he never skype, gchat, or sms me again. ever, please.

when i got off the chicken bus later that evening, i was so weary. as one of a handful of gringas in town, attention was always directed at me whether i liked it or not. as much as i tried to remain stoic, the tears began to stream down my face as i made my way through town toward my casita on the hill.

perhaps the tears turned to heaving because at one point the owner of a little bodegita who had never been particularly warm to me came out of her store and chased me down for a hug.

the next few days were gut-wrenching. but, as we humans do, i slowly began to heal.

i began to process my pain through journaling, exercise, singing, learning the single ladies dance (it was so hot right now), and, yes, discovering my love of scrappin'.

weeks later i was sitting on my bed working when who should walk through my door but mister ben.

i had said to never skype, gchat or sms me again but i had said nothing about a moto ride, three chicken buses and a plane flight. my bad.

the odd thing? i had no pants on. okay, just kidding, but actually, no that's real talk. it was sooo hot. ha

the oddest thing? i don’t remember being surprised. it was almost like my soul knew that this would happen. like i had been expecting him to come back.

well i am a stubborn person so my front was cold. i kindly told him that i was about to head out the door to a meeting. and i did.

but the truth was my healing had only been skin deep and my heart was still in love. all i could think about at said meeting was him. there. up in my little bungalow.

meanwhile, back at the bungalow, as i would later find out, ben was contemplating packing everything up and heading out. his plan to scoop me off my feet had failed. first, however, he had to take a nap. classic ben.

fortunately, my desire to cut the meeting short with some chisme couple with his uncanny abilities to pass the chuta out, i caught him before he bounced. we decided to allow some more time to figure us out.

and, as it would go, after a couple days of sharing my space with this hombre, i just knew i had to let down my front. that fully opening up was now the strongest thing i could do. i had no expectations at that moment in time of where we would go or what we would be. just the feeling that not trying to make us work was unacceptable to my soul.

the next morning we walked in silence, hand in hand, to the bus that would be the first leg of his journey back to Santo Domingo. as we walked we passed some birds of paradise.

ben stopped, and with his heavy backpack teetering over his head, bent down to take a closer look — these are all over, the birds of paradise, it’s my favorite flower. 

at the time, i didn’t know men had favorite flowers. he stood up to keep on walking and i silently filed the moment away in my head as another thing i loved about him.

while flowers have been assigned meanings through the centuries, i didn’t need the internet to tell me that these striking beauties were a symbol of joy & optimism.

p.s. i cannot leave you without a fun fact - did you know that birds of paradise are related to the banana plant?!