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streetlights

There is no easy way to say it. I was married to someone I hid from. Tucking E into a sling, I would disappear for hours saying I was going shopping for dinner, and if she fell asleep the excuse was that she needed fresh air as I sat on a park bench with her tiny hand grabbing my pinky until she eventually woke up. I would make my way along the side streets of Greenwich as the sun went down, leaning into store windows but not going in. Eventually I would go home, and as I turned the corner there was a security light that would switch on - obviously attached to some motion sensor. In those strange and lonely moments, I would talk to that light. Each time it clicked on, I felt somehow that the night ahead could be survived no matter what madness waited for us behind the front door.

That was twelve years ago.

Another life, another country.

Today, I turned a corner in Moscow with an all-too familiar bag of groceries swinging from my shoulder. A street light flickered on and all at once I…

burnt toast is the sweetest

E made plans for a few weeks, telling me at random times that there would be a hot cup of coffee waiting for me when I woke up on my birthday. She told me there would be a paper, and a note. She spent a week trying to sew a pillow cover for me from bright orange fabric, the white thread wobbling around, the corners puckered like a strange face. 

On the day, I woke up long before her. N and V had been up for hours. V looked at me, that tiny mouth jumping wide, a squeal jumping from inside her, legs kicking, tiny feet in the air. I thought to go back to sleep after a present like that and maybe have a perfect dream. I made myself a coffee instead, peeking into E's room and saw the pillow dangling from her hand, the needle on the floor. I tugged it loose and rested it on her nightstand. She knows the feeling of falling asleep while making something, I thought to myself, and that is something I am proud of.

The morning unfolded with some quiet moments with N, then changing a diaper, singing little songs to V while dancing in front of the mirror to the Blues Brothers and the Ramones, messages from friends all over the world sending sweet thoughts in more than a handful of languages. I found myself blushing at times, biting the insides of my cheeks.

E did wake up and I found her hunched over in bed, crying.
"I wanted to wake up first." She said, face down.
I laughed a little, trying to break the mood.
"And I fell asleep making the pillow." She added.
"I know you did, and I love it." I said, hand under her chin, raising her face.

A hug, her cheek on my shoulder, and then she asked me to turn the burner on. She made french toast all by herself, and only forgot to put butter in the pan which she did after the fact, eyes rolling, saying "I'll eat the burnt ones" but they were not burnt, they were fine and mine were decorated with blueberries and brown sugar, with a note tucked next to them.

That night, N told me I need to smile more this year as she made a toast at our little table.
"Yes, just like that one." She said, finger jabbing in the air at me as I felt the sides of my face hurt.








Comments

liv said…
Oh, happy, happy birthday !! What is the actual date? I like to hit it on the head next year.

Sounds like this was a perfect one. A happy day for all of us when you were born xx

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