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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…

something about rain (E makes a movie)


I am looking for my charging cable, and wonder if E took it. I am in her bedroom now, the stuffed animals wrapped in scarves are hugging each other on the windowsill. I yank open some desk drawers. They are packed with scraps of paper and folded things, paperclips, little jangly sounds. The next, crammed full of god knows what. A quick wave of vertigo washes over me. This is what my desk drawers look like on a good day. I call her, ask if she knows where my cable is. She does not. I find it behind the couch half an hour later.

E stands by my desk on Sunday afternoon. I am working, staring at an animation. 
"Pop." She says in a quiet voice.
I turn to her.
"I need to shoot your face." She tells me.
"Right now?" I ask. "What do you need me to do? Just sitting or doing something?"
She twists her mouth around.
"Let me think." She says. "We'll shoot it tomorrow."
I watch her go back to one of my old cameras. She clicks the buttons, flicking through the options, staring at the monitor intently. I taught her how to use it a long time ago but it was too heavy for her. A few weeks ago she asked me for it, a quick refresher course and she trotted to her window taking pictures of the sky at night.


It is raining. She asks me to go downstairs with her. I am happy to carry her tripod, to follow silently and hand her whatever she needs. I offer to shoot some behind the scenes pictures for her and she laughs. This is what she does for me now.

The rain is letting up but she finds some wet leaves to shoot instead.
I stare at her, wondering how she is dressed all in black, high top converse sneakers, leather moto jacket and unruly hair. I had nothing to do with this beyond setting an example. We buy her only what she wants to wear. I bite the inside of my cheek, seeing a miniature version of myself, awkward, trying to accomplish some invisible result. I do not hover. I do not ask to see what she is doing, just if she needs me to carry something.
"Are there any puddles?" She asks me at one point.
I crane my neck.
"Maybe later." I tell her.
She nods, motioning that we can go back upstairs.
"So what is your film about?" I ask her. "Do you know yet?"
"Not really." She offers. "Maybe just about rain."

Later, the tripod stands in the kitchen, some kind of declaration. I do the same when I am making a film, leaving my equipment in the middle of rooms, a triumphant reminder.



Comments

Incognita said…
It's so amazing to see yourself in the little things she surprises you with.
And I love the Tripod's Triumph :)

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