You both crossed over long ago. When I was close to that crossing, I made it matter daily. I held the babies to me and really believed in God. I sucked in the sweetness of their skin; I thought perhaps that fickle God took two adults but gave me two babies. Years later, when I tell of the passings of these people, the stories don’t stick in my throat. I place them like a parcel I wrapped perfectly long ago. A parcel too tidy, the lessons long gone.
Across the street, men build an almost new house for a family of four. Years behind mine, they have two daughters spaced apart the same number of years as my no-longer-baby-girls. They are repeating the phrase: the remodel that will make their house holy. We’ll watch those girls run up the street, bike down it and repeat a phrase that already happened in front of my house.
Time passes and makes all of my stories boring. Or that’s how it feels. If you want to see the true feeling in me, watch me as I open the email from the admissions department at the college. Watch my face as the years stream by me like a river I want to chase to the beginning again. Here my tears on the night I watched my nephew with his bride, how I came home and admitted my sadness to not have that in front of me. Remember when I turned 30, how excited I was for what was ahead?
The sweetness of this life has a pit in the middle of it. We carve out our blessings and we learn to enjoy them until change asks us to plant a new seed, see what grows.
I don’t want to know what’s next. I’m betting on life surprising me with both goodness and heartache. I plan on sitting in a passenger seat while my husband drives and drives, music playing on the radio. I plan to cry all my tears, to make a river that carries me through the pit that’s hard as stone. I hear that’s what rivers do: make a place to pass where rock once stood. I mix all my metaphors. It’s all I have to offer you on a day when all the lessons seem old and unworthy. The sky grey, the trees that glow pink every fall reminding me how unbearably beautiful this one life is.