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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…

Sancho Panza and Don Quixote

The ocean whorls and spits and turns back on itself, a blue muscle pushing against sand. 

There are groups of old women, mostly in threes taking in low voices as they move slowly down the white tiled street. Little men in red berets all start to look like Sancho Panza. The rain is not salty, running down my cheeks and across my lips. My feet are wet.

After the rain, the cherry blossoms hang low. I watch them bobbing from invisible hands. A man sits on a bench waiting for someone. Children jump in puddles all messy hair and smiles, their raincoats open and flapping around them. Someone is smoking a cigar. A man with one leg shorter than the other is waving papers on a corner trying to hand one to everyone that passes.

Umbrellas choke the sky as I walk narrow streets.


A few days here and Moscow's deep snow cannot be imagined. I block it out, sipping on cafe con leche in little shops with their doors open to the damp air. I think of E in school, offering her homework to the teacher that bends down with a red pen and gives her a star, a correction or the casual grade. I think of her at lunch, slurping soup from a tiny spoon with her big eyes watching the other children not looking down at her bowl. I imagine her on the playground, hands in pockets, walking in slow circles in dirty snow, maybe kneeling to retie a shoelace.

I imagine what it will be like to travel with her someday, to climb little mountains and look down at cities, to feel sand between her toes, to order randomly from menus we do not understand and eat baby eels for lunch.








Comments

liv said…
And what are you doing in Spain?? Looking for your own Sancho Panza?

And most importantly - what are you eating? I am envious.

Safe trip!

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