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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…

adjustments


E does not draw people with one eye any more. She draws pictures of her favorite super heroes now. No more imagined street scenes of New York, no cool girls in high school with striped socks and skinny legs. There is one headphone in her ear most of the time, if not both. She has a soundtrack to her life, pop music on a perpetual repeat. It isn't that I am against these things. She is almost eleven and her life is becoming her own. Every parent wishes for that. It is just an adjustment for me, always imagining her as that little bird that wanted to marry Spongebob, the girl with the box of magic markers and a wild imagination. 

Her guitar stands in the corner of the room like in so many films from the 80s - an idea, a prop, a smart thing to fill space collecting dust. I bring V into the room once or twice a day to bang on it a little, her tiny hand resting on the neck all whoops and howls yanking the strings half by accident. Guitars need to be played or they dry up. They need warm hands and attention. 

A camera stands on a tripod. E is making pictures she does not show me. Maybe they are presents for her friends on their birthday. Maybe they are just an idea and she does not finish them. I don't pressure her. Of course she knows I want to see them but I do not push. She has her own ideas, her own mysteries. 

Sometimes I feel like an asshole, reminding her to wash out her lunch box, to brush her teeth, to take a shower, to clean her room, to throw out a garbage bag sitting on her floor for three days. I am the other soundtrack that repeats reminders, lame chores and sorry news. But, she does her homework all by herself. 

She keeps tabs on my progress as I edit the film she acted in. E hovers behind me, mouth twisted as she studies the software, the cutting of masks, the color correction, the stabilization, the grain removal, the grain going back, the finessing. She knows this takes a lot of time and when I think it is getting there, I show it to her. She approves of this tiny face on the screen from a year and a half ago, from a different life. 









Comments

liv said…
All these changes in the things she is now concentrating on. The leaving behind of the "little" thoughts, the thoughts that 1 digit children think and dream. 2 digits is another world. Sigh. For me, a bit sad - nostalgic. But also exciting, she is endlessly full of surprises!

And the picture, thank you - a very sweet treat.

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