Two Pages

by Mark Chmiel

Your book arrived today, just a few days after I ordered it on Amazon (and on a Sunday no less!)

It looks beautiful and I couldn’t be happier for you

I opened up to the first page, eager to re-read what I had only seen in a PDF version before

And what a wonderful opening!

But suddenly it was too real for me

Layla’s ideas, inspirations, desires to go to Gaza reflected my own before I went to Ecuador

It hit me like a ton of bricks

Grief

And I had to sit with it and digest it for a minute….

and then an hour…

and then the whole evening

This still unprocessed, year-old sorrow of losing 50 friends after a single plane trip back to the United States of Apathy

And I will be honest, my hurt still runs deeper than I will admit to myself

But you awakened it in me, brought my awareness back to it

“Breathing in I am sad, Breathing out still sad”

If you can believe it, I had never cried since coming back from Ecuador, despite yearning for tearful release with every part of my soul

All it took was to read the first two pages of your book and I was gone, a sobbing, soggy mess on my couch

Well, you can count me among those who have been moved by your words

–from Chelsea Jaeger, July Gmail Chat

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