Thursday, June 5, 2014

Weeds and Piles



The sun is doing its slow slink down to the edges of the world, the temperature is plum perfection, no bugs, no problems. All I can think about is sweeping my kitchen floor.

Just like I rearrange the art on my walls, my emotional and spiritual furniture scoots and drags and before I know it, the epicenter of my faith and who I am hinges on the five piles of dirt/dust/Legos forming a loose perimeter around my life's ground zero. I know I won't breathe until I bring order to these ranks.

This is who I am, a woman who's growing older, the lines that were once nearly undetectable closing in around me. This is who I am, a mom who makes sense of things, the combiner of all the little piles, the boss of eyeballing the gallon of milk and knowing exactly when we'll need another. This is who I am, a wife who too often takes for granted the man I married, the one who feels so safe in being known and loved that the fall to grumpy and aloof is really more of a quick slide. 

I sweep the piles, thankful for this quiet house, the threat of little feet three dreams away.

I wonder how I got here. Here.
Certain things don't matter like they used to. The things we value live and kick and breathe differently now, like a neighbor, while the weeds grow up around us all.

Outside, the lawnmower whirs and the clover disappears. I miss it already. I caught its sweetness each time I stepped outside today and I'm not one to begrudge a flower.

I step out to shake the rugs, snapping them four times, five times, as many as it takes for the grit to let go.

Out the corner of my eye, I see her in her high-water jeans, following Cory up and down the yard, trailing him with a smile, picking up empty Popsicle wrappers and grungy cellophane that blew our way. He walks west, she does, too. They both head east, and back again. "I'll put this in the trash for you!" Her grin splits me in half because I know it's wasted. It is not honored. It's not paid back in kind often enough.

Hers is the face of regular, lower-class poverty, where single moms might have it all right but can't afford to prioritize anything but the electric bill. She's nine years old and she puts herself to bed every night.

Mariachi music pitches high at the horizon, zagging in and out of laughter and wheels on pavement.

This is summer in my neighborhood.
I want to believe it holds something special for us.

Inside, the floors are finally clean and I love the way they catch the light of my whole life, a nicked-up landscape of shadows and glare.

The kids breathe easy upstairs and the crickets sing while folks I don't know walk up and down the sidewalks and one little girl I'm starting to love chases my husband with fistfuls of trash.

I don't know how I ever got so lucky.


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