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you are not there

We are taking the little one for a ride on her new sled. It is bright orange, with a fuzzy black and white seat cover to keep her extra warm. Her tiny hands in tiny gloves hold the sides as tight as she can. I pull her down a path, shouting "woohooo" and then she replies "woohoo". N's turn is next, pulling her more schoolgirl than mother for a few minutes. There are other parents with children on sleds passing us. Their eyes straight forward, faces completely blank they slip by in silence. I flash a smile to them, and they do not even look at me. I am not there, just another tree leaning towards the stream that runs below.

There are ducks still, flapping around the brackish water and we throw pieces of stale bread to them. I start to think, not about the complete absence of smiles in this culture. I stopped asking about that long ago, told over and again that smiles are reserved for home, behind closed doors. But I wonder, for the children -  these wiggling bu…

two steps back, one step forward

The rooms are dark. Some of the luggage still sits in cockeyed piles. Mounds of clothes to wash and iron and fold stare up at me. Coughing, sneezing and bellyaching I wrap a t-shirt across my eyes and go back to sleep after I bring E to school. The wind knocks a door around on the balcony. I smell stale cigarettes from the hallway seeping under the front door.
Yes, I am back.


E is getting perfect fives. 
She tells me she has been saving her lunch money to buy a doll until I explain to her that lunch money is only for lunch. We agree to start giving her an allowance. 
She cries quietly, feeling terrible. I tell her it is my fault, for not explaining things well. 
"Yeah, you screwed up Pop." She says, joking past her wet cheeks.


Things have been breaking. My desk chair's wheels popped off one afternoon, split right down to the bone. The espresso machine sputters then dribbles and now it just sits with lights flashing. They were old. I am not upset. I have been buying things that E's mother forced me to get rid of so many years ago. A black leather peacoat. That orange guitar. A certain camera. A handful of books about angels and the Holy Grail. I wondered if this impulse to replace what had been lost and sold off was a good idea. It seems so hokey, such a soap opera urge. Will I really feel younger, seeing my reflection with this coat on my shoulders? No, that is not the reason. Is this all a going-back? A return, a second chance? No. I just missed these things. I want to pick up from where things left off, to continue with that certain inertia I had ten years ago.





Comments

Things break, M. Chairs, espresso machines, hearts... But your heart seems remarkably intact. So go ahead...Slip into that leather coat. And just so you know...You are the light of my Mondays!

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