Thursday, July 15, 2010
My mother waited for me. She waited while I wrapped up loose ends of a poetry show, rode an early morning shuttle, a plane. She waited through a storm delay, another plane, a rental car. She waited in the hospital bed she never wanted to die in, so I could say hello, then goodbye. Some afternoons hold too much.
In my hello I showed pictures, and poems, told her everything I could think to tell her, told it quickly, words falling over each other in a cresting wave, while she calmly took from my hands what I offered, nodded. We are always those children. Eager. Hungry. Caught in what love is and was and is supposed to be.
The boy is packing up to trek to the beach with his dad where they'll have to cross the river at high tide. It is not all that unusual. The mother left behind. Even before this mother lost her mother, even before this uneven grieving, there was the need, time to read, space to write. The boy is used to it and so his routine is not so upturned. Yet he clings just a touch more now. Each time she believes him gone, begins on a new paragraph, he bounds back through the vinyl flap. He is all a flutter, has pirate stories to tell, plans to fend off the squirrels; he has last kisses, special rocks to show, cloud shapes she must come out and see, one more game of pretend, questions about tree roots. She takes from him what is offered, nods. She reassures him that she will be along soon. And he makes her promise to wait for him when she gets there before crossing the river to the other side.