I came up for air sweating bullets after trying to wedge a third booster seat into the small backseat of our car. “Fuck!” I said, almost before I noticed a friend standing in front of me. We were both there to pick up kids from preschool.
“Barnes and Noble only sells moleskin journals by three’s,” she said, handing me a beautiful, simple book the same cranberry color as her skirt. No lines, just the way I like it.
I only have a few minutes to write. Greg and the crew will be home any minute. I am trying to take deep breaths, but the breath keeps getting caught on something, like fabric catching on a nail, the same one every time.
These days have been restless, strangely out of sorts, a bit unhinged. I have no idea why, but I created a Twitter account. I think I did it mostly because I get to be @thejenarator. I’d invite you to follow me on Twitter, but I do not even really know what that means. And I have this sneaking suspicion it might mean nothing.
The moleskin journal is wedged between library books – we just checked 27 of them out of the library for our week at Joe’s Pond with my family. We leave Saturday. There’s no internet. No cell service. I am going to bring that blank book and a pen. I am going to bring two memoirs I just checked out from the new arrivals section. I’m going to write by hand and read words on real paper pages.
Aviva’s first-grade teacher assignment letter sits unopened by the kitchen phone. I’m saving it for her to open. She has been rolling her eyes at me all day, eyes covered in green glitter.
I am just this minute noticing the almost neon color of the flowers in our garden. If only I knew their names. They well might know mine. I might not even need a name at all.
And with that, I surrender. The overwhelm. The uncertainty. The optimism and the fear. The reacting and the letting go. The hope. The rage. The leavings and the takings, the comings and the goings. All of it.
Look at me, sitting here at the table, eyes open, face slack, arms up, unarmed. I come in peace, with nothing to give but this, this being here, this sitting in a blue chair, this not knowing, not knowing a thing.
And then. Suddenly. The way a bird swoops and darts, I get it. This moment, what I can see, all the turmoil within me and my incongruously peaceful surroundings, there is nothing to get. I could be the tree branch of a red maple tree, I could be that bird, that child who isn’t mine streaking across the backyard. I could be a pulse, a bear cub, a plane engine.
I release the tension in my jaw. Go easy, girl. Go easy on yourself.