before I woke up to find all the pieces had wandered back behind closed eyelids, from whatever facet of reality they had chosen to stay. fully conscious, perfectly lucid, I asked where they’d been, why now, waited for the universe to just fucking answer me.
it was mid march and I was 25.
cold grass. grey morning. fig leaves sheathed in blinding light. blonde halo, glowing curls. glitter eggs and no one wants them. buckets full, ears bent, dirty, broken. white mask, baby’s crying. long skirt, green ferns. bubbles falling so slow, bunny hopping off the edge. carrot cake and a sacrificial lamb. jello eggs and burning rum. stripes and flowers and nothing fits. candy wrappers dancing in the wind, floating shards of metallic plum. moss rabbit and exotic eggs…stone and wood, porcelain and metal, from every corner of the world. white coffee and a favorite cup. deeply stained fingers, grass littered counter. running feet and a hundred eggs. baskets spilling on the floor, tiny frogs and sugar dreams. an old hound dog looking on… and the sleepy sun is just kissing your neck in all the right places.
on the good days, we’ll play under the fig tree in our underwear and blow bubbles on the couch. we’ll sleep on golden tables and drag our feet through the wet dirt and damp grass, lay on a blanket by the white wall and absorb the sunlight.
there wont be any yelling on the good days. just birds and crickets, and the swarming bees. just the way you whisper awww when you give me a hug. just the sound of waves while you sleep next to me.
I was in the kitchen putting dishes away when I heard them both giggling. I looked up and saw that Rex had crawled over to the curtains and B had climbed behind them and was playing peek-a-boo with him. And the harder Rex laughed, the more excited Brigsby got until they were both kind of sprawled out on the floor laughing and rolling around.
just know this: on my deathbed, I will ultimately value my life based on how those two love each other, how they face their role as brothers. and on Monday I would have died happy.
it was just the two of us, back where it all started. the same stretch of beach from that summer five years ago, before jobs and kids and a white wedding dress. before houses and cars and a white picket fence. before stability tracked us down and held us hostage.
it was just the two of us, alone on our beach, watching the processional mirage of the last five years merge into what’s coming next…watching it all play out where the world dissolves into the sea, fades into the surf with the ghosts we left behind.
brigs painted for the first time this weekend, painted the ground and his arms and my face…the leaves and his shoes and sometimes on the paper I laid out in front of him. we framed them for the grandma’s for mother’s day gifts this year. on saturday he learned to play hide and seek. I was changing Rex, listening to B playing in the living room. and when I came out, I couldn’t find him. and I started to panic thinking he had gotten outside somehow…and right before I truly lost my mind, I saw 5 little fingers poking out from behind the curtains. and when I called his name, his whole body froze…and when I pulled back the curtain where he was hiding, he dissolved into a mess of giggles.
on mother’s day I just wanted, needed, a break. I needed to breathe. I needed for a few hours, to just not be a mother…a few hours to shake off the weight of that certain responsibility. it’ll crush you if you let it.
we were sitting out in the driveway the other night after dinner, throwing the basketball around, letting B get as filthy as possible before his bath. Rex was sleeping by the rosebush and my hands were covered in chalk, streaks of a dozen different colors leaving kaleidoscope fingerprints on everything I touched. The crickets were out, the sun was low, the air was heavy…and it felt like summer.
And then B came out of the garage with the skateboard Alex made for him around Christmas. I sat at the end of the driveway watching Alex teach him how to sit on it, how to roll down the driveway. I watched his hands as they caught him, as they hovered just close enough to keep him safe. He’d roll him down the driveway, I’d watch him laugh and shriek, eyes bright, until I caught him in my arms…and then he’d roll that little skateboard back up to Alex until eventually he could do it on his own.
of all the good weekends…there are few perfect ones. and when they come, they take you by surprise. and they bring with them a happiness so deep that your pores just open up to it, like flowers to the sun, engulfed in the light until there’s no longer blood coursing through your veins, but that white blinding happiness and it keeps your heart beating and your cheeks warm.
we taught b how to skimboard at the same beach we’ve been going to since the day we started dating. it was just us…sand for miles, water for days, and no one else to hear his laughter, his shrieking perfect laughter. bubble baths and dinner and best friends. open windows, weather that just reached out and ran it’s fingers through your hair. cheap sunglasses and burning candles, boys and softball and movies on the couch. chili and ice cream, dinner grilled late at night. sleeping in and breakfast waiting, back scratches and a baby’s arms wrapped around you tight.
a long long drive. cats underfoot. palm trees swaying. coconuts floating. moon jellies pulsing. tiny crabs hiding. rain falling, steam rising. thrift shops and lunch dates, a woman with no pants. gourmet dinners, cucumber martinis. poker for hours, sitting outside in the dark. dolphins chasing, baby sleeping. kayaks and sharks, stories to tell. tapestries and stained glass. baby in bed, hands on happy cheeks. falling asleep watching harry potter, waiting for the rain to stop.