The Other

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Tonight, I sink in memory foam

but I remember the mattress on which I used to ease myself in India–the thin, dirty one I came to love.

Other travelers, with their own obedient dreams, had slept on it before me, and so I didn’t mind resting my sooty, unsandaled feet on it at the end of a long day.

Now forced air hurries through my bedroom vents like an American promise, and I listen.

I do listen.

But I remember that wall-mounted AC that cost so much to run right before monsoon in that other life when the air swirled like steam in my lungs and I prayed earnest prayers about the electricity staying on all night.

That mattress, that AC, those prayers still live somewhere

though I soak in tubs of endless hot water now

and have cut off all my hair.

Life by Numbers

The first week in December came and went.  My sister and her husband and kids stayed with us for a few days, and it was Christmasy to have littles in the house again.

And then, in the middle of Amazon deliveries, Christmas movie marathons, and reminding preschoolers to flush, our middle son turned thirteen.

I won’t spend time dragging out tattered cliches about time flying and all that.  But he’s the second of our three kids to cross this invisible threshold in the last fourteen months, and I have to mention it.

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Yesterday, we visited my eighty-year-old grandmother.  She is still beautiful to me.  Her hands shake now, but her nails are painted red and she wears diamonds.  We sat out on her sunporch, overlooking quiet fields, and reminisced about my childhood and hers.  She chuckled to herself, talked about my kids and me as if we are the same age.

My husband and I haven’t turned forty yet, but we notice the signs of a new normal in the bags under our eyes, in our increasing fatigue at any hour past 9:30 PM.  We don’t feel twelve-and-a-half very often anymore.

Then we look at our kids, at how they’re leaving childhood behind at breakneck speed, and we feel older, still–but also younger.  Older because, how did we become the parents of two teenagers and one who’ll be there in seventeen months (minutes)?  Younger because we’ve crammed a lot of living into thirty-eight years, and, Lord willing, there’s more to come.

So I’m trying to stay present in these actual moments instead of looking back too much, or worse, too far ahead.  Because before long, these hours will be replaced by something new.  And then something else after that.

And I will miss my grandmother, and the house that used to have kids living in it.

Sisters

DSC_0219I wake up to a fast heart because there are minutes over coffee that I’ve already wasted,

and I can’t remember what day it is.

So I hurry on a wrinkled cardigan I grabbed off the floor (I’ve stopped picking up around here),

and I find you in the middle of the kitchen, with crazy hair and childhood eyes, and

you’re sipping my memories with careful lips.

You see that my face is blotchy, that I look like something from the future, but I don’t mind,

for once.

Because my future will have you in it, and we’ll sink together as we listen to

Dvorak and watch Wheel of Fortune, in three of those gliding chairs.