"the chariot is your confidence, your will, and your inner warrior. At points in your life when you felt the bliss of achievement and triumph, you were riding on his back."
Sometimes hurtling down a highway through
the narrow cone of headlights I feel
moments of exaltation, but my night
vision is poor. I pretend at control
as I drive, nervously edging that knowledge
I am not really managing. I am in the hands
of strangers and luck. By flight he meant
flying and I mean being flown, totally
beyond volition, willfully.
(from "Night Flight", Marge Piercy.)
Dec and I went for donuts this morning, one last hurrah at Moe's. On the way there he kept complaining that something was wrong in his sock, so we sat on a park bench and he lifted his foot into my lap. I took off his shoe, smoothed his sock and straightened it around his heel, re-velcroed his shoe and patted his foot. He took off running. He can fix his own socks, but he still lets me mom him sometimes.
Sitting on the bench, I asked him if he remembered when I had my heart surgery. It was five years ago, he was in pre-K, he knows that it happened but doesn't remember it. I told him that when I came home from the hospital they wanted me to walk as much as I could, but it was hard because I got tired so often. At the end of the day, Matt would go pick him up from aftercare, and I'd walk with Matt partway just to get out of the house and then rest on a bench in the park because I couldn't get the whole way there. I remember these cold winter days, huddling in my coat and scarf on that bench, looking forward to my tiny person running towards me for a hug.
Getting coffee before the donuts, I told him a story from when he was much smaller, when he was only just starting to talk. We used to go out for dinner every week or two at a Chinese restaurant, Red Bowl, and we'd stop first at this corner store called Khim's to get a small milk for Declan. One time, Dec and I were meeting Matt there and we were a little early, so we went to Khim's for the milk and the plan was to walk around the block to kill ten minutes before going to Red Bowl. Declan was still in a stroller, so I had to wrangle it up into the door of the store, but they knew us there so I could leave Declan and his stroller by the counter while I went back to grab the milk. Anyway, I got the milk, the lady rang it up, I paid and got change, and then started wheeling Declan back out the door. He started babbling--milk, milk, milk. I said, I know baby, milk, but wait until dinner, okay?
We got out on the sidewalk and he started getting really agitated. Milk! Milk! I know, baby, but I said wait until dinner, it's just a few minutes. He started crying and kicking the stroller, twisting around in his little safety straps and screaming at me, milk milk milk! I started to lose my patience a little bit, like, okay fine, you can have the fucking milk now, but then it will be crying all over again when you don't have it at dinner, FINE WHATEVER. And I reached into the stroller bag to get the stupid milk for my stupid kid and... and there was no milk. Distracted by the stroller and the door and everything, I'd left it on the counter at Khim's. He'd been trying to tell me that we didn't have the milk.
Declan loved this story. Then he says, Khim's closed, right? Yeah, I guess it did, kiddo. It used to have four or five locations in north Brooklyn, now they're down to one, and it's not the one where we used to buy milk. Red Bowl is gone too, so I suppose it was a story about places that don't exist anymore.
Movers come on Wednesday! The new house is perfect, but the old neighborhood is perfect. Lots of feelings all around.