to hannah, on your graduation day

Hi Han,

I used to write you a lot.
Even in India, we would write back and forth, share playlists and stay out later than we were allowed. And the year we spent long distance, shooting back and forth emails and songs and letters.

We got married, chubby and with pale skin.

We lived together for about five years. Ate a lot of good food. Had hurtful, imaginative and life-giving conversations. I used to feel guilty about not understanding the way you thought, like maybe I wasn’t fast enough or mature enough. You helped me out of those ditches. You brushed me off.

You were hungry, so I fed you.

I ended up being okay as a home cook.

You supported me pursuing that life, which meant being alone a lot during the day and night, but also getting to benefit from experiments at home, and to also let it fill our bellies when it wasn’t so great.
I was more than a cook. I took the role of comedian and listener and ball-buster and doubter of things I deemed ridiculous. I suppose that’s a role that goes back and forth.

But you loved to eat good food. And you loved that I was southern.

thank you.
you were the reason I started to cook. 

And we grew, and grew. Sometimes more chubby. A little less in certain seasons. But also like branches, out from their tree.

You went to a place I couldn’t follow. A place only you yourself were able to explore. A place that I felt you moving towards, even before that morning, where we both wept in our perspective resting places. My brown chair. And that Ikea couch where you fell asleep almost every night. You always said it was brown, but it was definitely a shade of purple. Something we never had agreed upon, jokingly. Fair enough. It belongs with a 2nd grade teacher now and I’m sure her kids don’t care all that much.

You were in school most of our marriage. A decision that was made through some financial stability, as I somehow became the manager of a coffee space in downtown Portland. You would have the space to go back to school, and it was something we both felt you needed to do.

And you did so well, even through all those damn reflection papers. Straight A’s all the time. Always putting my shitty ‘C’ average to shame. We would celebrate often, as every couple should do. Celebrate any time you can. Celebrate good grades and promotions and half anniversaries. Celebrate each other.


So now, even as we find ourselves on a different road from where we started, I am finding space in my heart to celebrate you, today.

There are nights that I find myself choking back tears, because of some anger or a picture of you fell out of a book. Or through a rogue letter caught somehow in an old drawer.

I know you’ve worked hard.
And I know this was one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do.

In many aspects, I will know you in ways no other person has.
People never leave us. Ya know?

As I like to imagine that scene in Harry Potter where Sirius points to Harry’s heart and says, “We’re hereyou see?

You will be walking in a gown, I assume. With a silly hat, looking much like a professor at Hogwarts.

And I will be doing what I do. Probably dishes. Or putting a plate on the pass waiting for a server to come scuffling over during the rush.

But I am close, Han.

And I am sending you light and love.


                                                   — Josh




6 responses to “to hannah, on your graduation day”

  1. Beautiful & thoughtful as you always are. You are wise beyond your years, and that space you’ve made in your heart that finds room for love & celebration through tears, will serve you well.

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