Inside the storefront Pentecostal church, the preacher exhorted his flock in Spanish, and two small girls beat tambourines, blue and pink streamers tied to the side of their instruments flailing in time. I locked eyes with one of them as I passed the doorway, both of us wondering where the other was headed. Outside, women fried plantains in bubbling oil, the scent blessing the sidewalk. I nodded at them, and they nodded back, and I wondered how they managed to hang on here, with their food and their prayers, as the city turned as if from water to wine.
Archive for the ‘Kind of true’ Category
We cannot correct for the determined, for the mad, for the exhausted. We cannot correct for sudden downdrafts, runways turned slick with invisible ice, eyes blinded by an unexpected lightning flash. We cannot correct for the broken wire, the critical screw unspooled from its threads, pieces of bird thudding through the blades of the engine turbine.
We cannot correct for any of these, and so we buckle in, open a magazine, close the shade, and exhale. We hope. We fly. We land as safely as that moment allows.
Words cluster about my head like moths most days, teasing me with wing-beaten currents, but they dart away when I reach out to catch them.
I would like to turn off the light that draws them to me, just dim it long enough for them to move elsewhere. It is exhausting, the constant chasing of small, winged beasts, the fear that even if I do catch one, the brush of my fingers against their hair-like scales will bring it down, take away its essence. Is it worth catching one only to learn it will never fly again?
I have taken photographs of my son every day of his life. The images scroll by—smiles, frowns, a pout, mouths frozen in screams.
But he is already half my height, and yesterday, when I drove by a school, I watched the children at recess and thought about all the things they do that their parents don’t see, all the experiences that go undocumented as they emigrate to adulthood.
Life slowly fades like an image in bright sunlight. There is no reversing it—I already miss what I will not get to see.
I saw a photograph of an intersection shrouded in fog, and remembered parking there once, long ago. It had been clear when I nestled my car in line with the others, but by that afternoon, mist enveloped the city and it would be awhile before I could discern things properly again.
It is a good reminder, this photo, this fog, this memory of other times when the next step might not have been so obvious. We don’t always know what lies around that curve, up that next hill. We don’t always forecast all the joy that is to come.
The kettle’s lid no longer holds true, so it should be no surprise when it clatters over the pouring stream of boiling water, past the awaiting mug and onto the counter. It should come as no surprise when the steam from inside the kettle escapes all at once, then, and envelopes your fingers, curled around the handle, and leaves pink splotches that sting the rest of the day. There is so much, now that hurts without warning, so many small, unpleasant accidents that leave burn marks on body, on soul.
A flat of strawberries arrived Thursday, and the race was on. They disappear like summer, turning to soup in the warm air, uninterested in schedules and convenience. Sometimes I jam or freeze them, but this time, I devoted most to eating, beginning just after I brought them home with a pint rinsed and eaten greedily over the sink.
By Sunday, they had reached last-chance status, and I quartered the ones left, saved them in the refrigerator. Later, even after I’d washed my hands, my fingers still smelled of summer and seized opportunity.