The feeling of gratitude and hope is like a deck built from rain softened wood that springs under your plush naked feet on a summer morning. It is a dry sponge that swells and darkens under running water. It is standing in front of a fireplace with damp heat knitting tall socks around your legs.
Hope and gratitude defy words. Sadness easily funnels itself into the shape of words. It curls into the swirls of cursive and cracks its arthritc knuckles. It knows it’s here to stay. It knows I can talk about it for hours. I don’t have language for hope and gratitude. I only pull them out on the second Tuesday of each week. They are like the lollipops we had as children. Flat disks of pressed sugar pivoting on white paper sticks and wrapped in square slips of plastic. The lollipops were like hot molasses poured into molds and left to harden into sticky candy. We licked lollipops and stuck them to our dry lips, left them to hang like jewelry. The whits sticks tapped our chins. We danced in circles with our hands thrown over our heads, playing the air like cymbals and castanets. The fire decorated our calves with yellow and red paint, and we sprung around like we were part amphibian or flowers who remembered we were meant to bloom. The fire was our sun and we held hands and leaned into it, letting go of one another to flip the trays of the hardening candy that was lit from the fire and glowing like jewels.