Sometimes I do the right thing. Well I do something and it turns out to be right. Sometimes it’s the exact wrong thing. Most of the time I can’t tell which it will be.
I came home after the boys were dropped off by their dad. I felt very guilty. I had to be in DC for something and I wasn’t home baking cookies or whatever I imagine I should be doing when they walk in. Actually, I had spent the early part of the afternoon having a perfect bloody mary and a half dozen oysters in a restaurant I wandered into, where the bartender was kind enough to serve me in a not quite yet open section so that I could sit in a velvet booth and hum to myself. The oysters, I’m sorry to remember, were eaten alive. Then I walked in the rain and went to the thing I had to go to. I feel the guiltiest about being away from them when I am enjoying myself so sumptuously, when I’m doing nothing for anyone else, just peering out at the world by myself.
I walked home from the metro and there were so many puddles, I called upstairs and told Hurricane to put on socks. He asked why. I did not answer. I walked in, dropped my bag on the chair by the door, handed him my extra pair of rain boots, which were not as big on him as they were in my imagination. His feet are bigger than I am ever willing to remember. This is the thing, about memory, about motherhood, about how you see yourself and how you really are. I always feel larger than I am.
We went back out to the sidewalk and jumped in puddles. We took running jumps and landed heavily. Making the biggest splashes we could. We did this for forty minutes. We investigated all of the puddles on the path, then chose our favorites and spent some extra time on those. In some places, where we thought we were jumping in a puddle on concrete we actually squelched into the mud. I liked those best–the surprising softness, the slowing down and sinking in. He preferred the hard landing, the resounding splash. The water seeped in around our toes and even over the top edges of our boots. Our jeans were wet, our hair wild. I asked him, “Have you ever done this before?” He said, “Not like this, not because someone told me to.”
Perhaps in his memory of this, he will be doing it alone. I may be erased. Or he may remember it as it occurred and not trusting the memory, discard it. Perhaps it will remain only a fragment–the flesh knowledge of wet feet, the slow dropping veil of a darkening sky, the satisfaction of feeling dampness and knowing that dry is nearby, that home is a short walk away. Of having no umbrella on purpose. I can’t say for sure what any of this will become as it fades.
I wanted to write about being lost, and then I began typing that little vignette above. I didn’t know it would turn out to be about memory or even about that evening with the puddles or about the poor oysters I ate alive. I just wrote and trusted. Some of it’s good and some of it I don’t like as much.
Next week on Thursday, June 9th at 7:30 pm, I’m reading at The Potter’s House with an incredible poet I admire. Temim Fruchter is someone I’m lucky to know. I can’t even say how I know her–we just cross paths and greet each other with joy every time. She is such a fantastic writer and has the best energy. I’m so excited to read with her, and we have some trust based collaborations planned–with musicians and with YOU dear reader. So come hang out.
In the piece linked here, Temim examines longing, crying, unrequited love. She does it by exploring the story of Leah. Leah who, if you recall, was kind of a badass and had eyes of two different colors. This is writing that makes you want to write. So read it and write. About any of those things, or about a story you’ve been thinking about. Trust yourself. Sometimes you’ll get it right.
From “Between the Bones” by the incredible Temim Fruchter in Pank Magazine:
Ladies in sacks, ladies in silks, the quiet crowding and uncrowding of the market gates. Filter in and filter out, the fat roots and the round grapes and the proud bouquets of greens. It’s funny, these moments out walking when you harbor a secret, an ocean, a second skin right beneath the first, a membrane made entirely of salt.
Please read the whole poem here.