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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…

combat boots and red socks

There is a ripple of laughter dancing around the dinner table. E is perched on her chair, her head tilted back, her mouth wide open as she howls. N's eyebrow is raised, like a movie star. V is slapping her palms against the high chair, mashing rice into her fingers. They are all in complete agreement about what I will write about this week, as sure as sure can be. The shitty teenagers obsessed with their phones during the concert, lips pursed in eternal duck faces. The long wait in the cold because we could not find the VIP entrance, and then eventually did in the back of a parking lot next to a tiny market.

They know I will piss and moan about the lack of food, the choice of whiskey. And as for the bomb threat that ended the show, and how no one announced we should all leave the building? Well, I must write about that too, with righteous indignance. Were they just going to let us all stand there and hope it was a fake threat? 

But I am doing none of that. 

I am swept up in the realization that I took my daughter to her first concert. People were indeed getting trampled. Beer bottles shattered. Cigarettes dangled above our heads and dripped hot ash. My child knew the words, and shouted them at the top of her lungs. She pumped her fist in the air. She wobbled back and forth in a new pair of Dr. Martins, their laces dancing around her ankles. She shivered with excitement. I leaned on the railing next to her, feeling invisible. Not the dad in the Fat Possum hat, not anyone. A ghost. The music bounced around the room. Beautiful, stark images played on a wall of screens. The drummer pounced and flailed. The singer wore red socks, his black pants hiked up for some flood that never came. 

She was happy, even thrilled. 









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