I woke up Saturday morning to an empty house, a box of donuts on the counter. Kids gone, car gone, bank card gone. A stack of French novels and magazines piled on the sofa. And I exhaled and gave thanks for one of the dearest people in my life, a friend from grad school, now on sabbatical and here because I asked. I opted for a second cup of cold brew, extra cream, and a long, hot shower without interruption.
Mister is traveling this week, maybe into next. I’m rolling right through week 36 of this pregnancy and rapidly approaching week 37 so I was a bit nervous to say the least. My friend and I had talked about getting together, working over her manuscript together, face to face. So during our weekly Skype chat I said, Hey! Care to cross the Atlantic and come hang out? And then twenty minutes later I had bought her a plane ticket and three days later, I gave a lecture to an English class then waddled to my car and headed to New Orleans to pick her up. And immediately, she hugged me and this baby, cooing in Creole in my ear and then to the wee babe, my shoulders came down from around my ears and I was filled with such a sense of relief.
My kids are thoroughly enchanted by the fact we just sit and converse in French and picked up exactly where we left off where we saw each last (2? 3? years ago). They love her because she brings a fresh selection of books and goodies from France and photos of us in our heyday—there we are in the Maghreb, in our rather derelict flat in Lyons, on a train in India, the two of us at a table on a café patio with my dad and a lizard in Lagos, on a beach in Martinique, and at her family home in Haïti, bleary-eyed in a pub in Ireland. And it feels good to remember all these adventures, the life I knew before this one, to remember how it felt to take off on a whim with little more than a backpack.
And so this week will be finishing the layout for Kindred’s eighth issue (Eight!), finishing up work for clients, and then a whole lot of nothing, and I’m looking forward to it. The little people are hoping to brush up on their Creole and are excited at the prospect of having company (the good kind they say and I nod knowingly). Brave soul that she is made it through Whole Foods and Traders Joes today (on a game day no less) with my five littles in tow and they have meals planned and movies to watch and well, for once mama is going to just sit back and smile and say, Yes, yes whatever, just enjoy while I sit back and watch the best and most loved people in my life come together to bring back old memories and create new.
And so with Evie, as she stood talking to the cook. Thought she could take up her mother’s work inside the house, just as the men could take it up without, she felt that something unique had fallen out of her life. Their grief, though less poignant than their father’s, grew from deeper roots, for a wife may be replaced: a mother never.
— E. M. Forster, Howards End
Saturday morning was breakfast at the café with the Red Bean: a proper capp for me, Darjeeling for her, peach scones. Then Mister and I headed out to do some birthday shopping for the Poulette and enjoy a late lunch. This heading out without kids in tow is a new thing for us, one we’re settling into quite nicely. It feels new and different, a bit shiny. A reminder that these days are iridescent, changing colour as my viewpoint shifts or the light passes just so. And so I do what I do: eyes wide, observing, making notes, doling out hugs and kisses as frequently as possible, and giving thanks.
PS: There is a new course offering up over here, one near and dear to my heart. I would love for you to join us!
Weekending with Karen and weaving words along with everyone else inspired by August prompt-a-day. join us and link up over here, on the ALM Writes fb page, or on twitter or instagram using the hashtag #writealm.
This was the scene late yesterday afternoon. I’d been reading too long, so the Red Bean gave me a gentle nudge by beginning to set the table around me. I love evenfall; it’s one of my favorite words, it’s easily my favorite time of day. And sitting at my dining room table looking out the windows, I love watching the sun sink in the sky and do amazing things in the treetops across the street then sink a smidge lower to make that sweet little yellow cottage glow. I wonder what it would be like to be in that cottage, in those front rooms, bathed in golden light. I wonder if my neighbors appreciate it, if they’ve even noticed it.
“The book was in her lap; she had read no further. The power to change one’s life comes from a paragraph, a lone remark. The lines that penetrate us are slender, like the flukes that live in river water and enter the bodies of swimmers. She was excited, filled with strength. The polished sentences had arrived, it seemed, like so many other things, at just the right time. How can we imagine what our lives should be without the illumination of the lives of others?”
― James Salter, Light Years
I’m reading this again. Again. I’ve read it several times and have yet to be disappointed. Each reading is a new reading, gleaning new gems from the pages, new insight into Viri and Nedra. It’s the very best kind of book because I feel that flaws and all, Viri and Nedra would be ideal friends, neighbors. If Viri and Nedra lived in the yellow cottage across the street, I imagine they would make a practice of having their afternoon cocktail there in the front room bathed in golden light.
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Weaving words along with everyone else inspired by August prompt-a-day. join us and link up over here, on the ALM Writes fb page, or on twitter or instagram using the hashtag #writealm.
…Then, softer, he told her, “You’re the one.”
“I’m not the one.”
She couldn’t continue the volley, and she thought: Okay, I am the one. I am the one and I have always been the one. This life was here for me, pulsing, waiting, and I didn’t take it.
But, she knew, you didn’t have to marry your soulmate, and you didn’t even have to marry an Interesting. You didn’t always need to be the dazzler, the firecracker, the one who cracked everyone up, or made everyone want to sleep with you, or be the one who wrote and starred in the play that got the standing ovation. You could cease to obsessed with the idea of being interesting. Anyway, she knew, the definition could change; it had changed, for her.
—Meg Wolitzer, The Interestings
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