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Breathing the right air

Nothing brings more comfort than a bag of good things to cook, swinging under your arm as you make your way home. Somehow it blots out the rest of the world. In these moments, the entire universe consists of a late afternoon sun, a stray dog and a clump of flowers growing strange and wild in a yard. A hit of basil jumps from my elbows with each swing of the bag, a gift from one of the ladies I buy from the most. I visit markets without intention, just eyes open ready to discover fresh peas, or the first corn. Knowing that these products will disappear as quickly as they present themselves creates a certain form of excitement. Each season offers up this rhythm and without it I might become completely lost.

I think of when we were in Tuscany a month ago, feeling like such a tourist until I wandered out along the highway and found the local vegetable stand. I shoved squash blossoms and tiny tomatoes into a bag, rushing back to our room like I had robbed a bank. I made pasta with them th…

the woman



I don't pretend to know more than what I witness. My eyes have seen tears, or that laugh that surfaces afterwards and it would be easy to glue everything together into one explanation. But that would be a mistake. Maybe even she does not know the whole truth.

But when she calls, I answer - if it is to march next to her, or to go buy some toilet paper. I cannot imagine my life without her and I sometimes think of writing a book about the man I might have become, wild and angry, yelling at cars in the street, a pimple on the world, a lost cause. It is too simple to say "she saved me" even if that is what it feels like. She calmed me. She loved me. She held her hand to my forehead in my darkest moments and they passed. Wife and mother and friend, my greatest critic, my greatest supporter. My heart leaps still at the sight of her.

I saw some family movies of N when she was young, maybe twelve. This is the skinny girl cracking gum that teases me still. Hands on hips, elbows out, eyebrow arched as the little arrows fly. Tiny little truths stinging my arms.

Today is the anniversary of the day we met. It was cold and dark. She smelled of narcissus, her hair a sleek curve that bounced at her shoulders. And she laughed. She laughed and laughed.








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