Sometimes, it seems, all you have to do is to name whatever it is you’re afraid of, and the fear dissolves.
Over lunch at a hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint shortly after my arrival in L.A., I told my brother, D~, my concern that I would feel too raw, too alone in the midst of the people I am closest to, on this occasion meant to revolve around him. Worse, I feared that if I weren’t able to conceal my feelings, everyone would get annoyed with me for ruining the mood, or, more sinister, stealing the spotlight. It felt good to admit this fear, to have it heard and honored, and to realize I was going to be just fine.
I was. In fact, I was more than fine. It was actually a great trip, a great time had by all, as far as I could tell.
There was one strange moment, though, just before the graduation ceremony. I was standing in my brother’s tiny apartment kitchen, brushing my teeth over the sink while others showered and dressed and primped in front of various mirrors. I haven’t seen A~ in a while, I found myself thinking, I wonder if he’s almost ready to go. It was a reflexive urge, this thought to check up on my husband. I felt like I’d seen a ghost.
I’m still a little disconcerted, but for the time being, the ghost was dispelled by a brisk uphill walk to the graduation site, where I sat between my brothers, A~ and J~, and discretely noted several celebrity sightings: Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen sat in the audience, three rows in front of me, among others, whose names escape me now. George Lucas and James Earl Jones both made speeches. (“I’m sure you’ve heard this before. You’re probably sick of hearing it. But I’m going to say it anyway,” James said to the graduates, in closing, “May the Force be with you.”
Indeed. May the Force be with us all.