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  • Dear Cupcake:

    I am writing to you in a cabin in the mountains near Santa Cruz. It has rained and the first few days, the earth was soggy, pliant, my footsteps, leaving mud tracks, the road to get here was full of potholes, the mist, so thick, this whiteness, it cocooned the entire valley, so thick, I could almost cup it in the palms of my hands.

    I spend my days meditating, writing. In the morning, I brew a big pot of hojicha and sit on the deck, near the dew-dappled redwood trees. The blue jays are my companions. They cackle to me throughout the day. In the evening, I make a fire. These damp logs, they huff and puff, giving more smoke than heat. To keep warm, I wrap myself in the blanket you bought for me in Marrakech.

    The trees here speak a mute language of compassion. Embraced in the bosom of greenness I find myself being suckled like a child. Here, I can breathe.

    The landscape of this place reminds me of that lake, the secret lake that you made me swore never to disclose to anyone.
    Do you remember? The water was so cold, it tore into our flesh like ice picks. But we still swam, the two of us naked, towards that rocky outcrop with the lone, scraggly pine tree. And when we arrived panting, the warmth of the sunlight caressing our skin, we laid there for a long time, on our stomachs, just the two of us, your arms draped around my shoulders, and it was then that you told me your story of how when you came out to your father, he wrote you a long letter expressing his disgust and disappointment with your “choice.”

    And so, even when your father died, you refused to attend his funeral. It was only many years later that you would even visit his grave. But when you did, the experience still surprised you. After so many years of therapy, you thought you were done “processing” your relationship with him, but, standing, there, at the grave, you began to sob, uncontrollably, all this rage inside of you, how you hated your father, how you loved him more than anything in the world.

    I still have this vision of you standing in front of your father’s grave, lighting the match, burning that letter he sent to you more than twenty-five years ago. I see you burying the ashes under a tree. I see you walking away, finally, freed.


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