Keira Rantanen - February 6, 2024
Artwork by - Alayna Shea
If you were to walk through the door, past the family photos and reminiscent artwork, you would find traces of her. You might see a kitchen that looked unused despite the sizzle making its way through the house. Perhaps a pristine bouquet of flowers would sing to you as you walked by—their petals always vibrant and leaves unharmed. A comforting silence might settle around you as if someone were giving you a warm hug and telling you everything will be okay. Or maybe you would be greeted by her, and she would turn to smile at you like a long-lost friend though you had never met her. If she had thousands of other priorities, she would still make you feel like the most important thing to her. And if you were at your worst, she wouldn’t judge you for it. Instead she would wordlessly open her arms and let the smell of powdered make-up and fresh roses engulf you.
When I think about her, I imagine long car rides filled with philosophical discussions while singing along to K-Pop songs and making fun of TV shows. Her laugh, though raspy from yelling at the screen, would ring throughout the room like a nest of birds basking in the morning’s sun. When I would look over and see her face, it felt like everything wrong in the world would just melt away, leaving behind only peaceful rivers flowing through friendly neighborhoods and sugar-coated strawberries at sunset.
I recall the days when I saw her cry, but harsh words were always followed by quiet reconciling—because, no matter how much she wanted to be right, she loved us even more. Her love didn’t have to be expressed in words because, when I looked around, I could see it everywhere: in my elementary school lunch, where an orange with the pith completely removed was set next to a handwritten note; in my freshly ironed clothes that were delicately hung up; in her smile when she told me “good night” or “good morning;” in the way she looked at me as if I were the center of her universe.
She had an aura that brightened your bad days and emphasized your good ones. It didn’t matter who you were or where you were from, she would be there when you needed someone to lean on. The sun’s shine and the moon’s shade, Persephone in the garden of life. It seemed as though everywhere she went, flowers would sprout from the ground. Shades of purple and pink making the once dead Earth slightly more beautiful. She was a sense of home, even if you were far from it.