No visible thread, no thread we recognize; only these strange notes, this scent, this cloud of color, this reminiscent taste. Yes, the sensation of relief.
Yesterday, walking… and reminders
I wondered once what I would remember and what I would forget. Yesterday, walking. Yesterday, restless. Yesterday, too much to do, my first born in the air again. I need to take my younger son to the cul-de-sac. A second driving lesson.
Now I glance at the sky, at its shifting, ominous grays, waiting for the steamy rains of summer. The clouds pass quickly, surrendering to blue, to cooler air. Is it stormy up there? Will the night swirl and cradle two jets crossing an ocean?
My hands swell in the heat, in my exertion. How many days since not pounding my fingers on a keyboard? How many days since an afternoon without worries? My nails were beautiful once: red lacquer nails, smooth skin. These are not my hands.
I imagine my father’s hands, so many years ago. His fingers, wrapped around the shaft of a golf club. His smile, his easy voice, and his putt every evening that he was around. The small cup on the living room rug. My mother, frowning. My father’s hands, wrapped around my own, tiny, as he showed me the correct grip, linking his beautiful fingers together. My dead father’s hands.
7:47 p.m., the text message… voyages beginning
… dans l’avion, prete à rentrer à Paris. Merci pour tout! Je suis triste de rentrer. Mais on espère vous voir en Bretagne.
Our French house guest, only 19, sends her thank you. Her first flight is now complete, and she sits, waiting for the next leg, her outbound flight to Paris, soon. I breathe.
I am frightened, but excited. It is strange here, and I do not know what is expected. I am 15 and nothing is familiar. I multiply three digit numbers by three digit numbers, picturing the results in my head as I calculate. I conjugate, now irregular verbs. These tricks are tranquilizing, even as I’m calmer away from the eyes of a small town, in this new language that invigorates me. It arrives in spurts through headache and memorization, through scanning for terms in my pocket dictionary.
Boudin. It is blood sausage. I force it down, enough to be polite. After dinner, the usual – walking, cycling, mopeds or motorcycles. The trip into the center of town – mass, then a movie, then the teens disperse into the woods and nettle. The boy who appears on the motorcycle is watching. I can feel his eyes. I want to touch his black hair. He speaks too quickly for me to understand, but I understand when he pushes his motorcycle along the gravel, and motions for me to get on.
8:25 p.m., the text message… voyages in process
… Landed. My son, in New York, only 45 minutes after his friend. A different terminal. Three hours to wait for a different flight to a different country. Another breath.
I’ve never been to Ireland. I imagine green, masses of it, soft and shiny at the same time. Clean air, expanses of sky. I worry that he will not sleep. I worry that I will not sleep, how I’ll manage through Saturday – driving, cleaning, more driving, appointments.
6:28 a.m., the text message… the journey
This is the message that I was waiting for, in the half sleep of a long night, of wakings and dreams, of two languages intertwined, again, in their place of entanglements. Landed.
I can close my eyes again until the dog demands food and company. For now, another breath. A long, deep breath.
I am in Paris, 19 and free. 19 like our house guest. The waiter watches as I write, steadily, in my journal. My hands are young like my father’s. My nails are red and the wine is red and I taste notes of pepper. Strange notes, no necessary thread to before or after; at peace in these moments. My new country, my new language, the other side of a turbulent ocean.
My shoes are emerald green, my heels are green, my eyes are green like my grandmother’s.
© D A Wolf