The lilacs are fat; my boys cheeks are sticky with apricots; the lawn is overgrown. Today T. wraps his arms around me at the table. We sit side by side, plotting our next moves while our boys escape out the front door and head to the sand box together. We can see them from the window. They sit side by side in the sand; hair blowing back in the dandelion-down strewn wind. They giggle together, and seeing them this way makes everything worth it. They’ll always have this. I went to NCY for the weekend with a lovely friend whose sister has an apartment on the Upper West Side. I haven’t been to the city since Bean was tiny; and my camera battery died before I could foray out to take many pictures. So instead I offer this:
The pictures I did not take.
The green Central Park lawn strewn with picnic blankets, and above it two bright yellow balloons lifting up; floating beyond the buildings at the tree line and into the blue and cloud flecked sky.
The two girls with red hair ribbons tied around pigtails, running among the picnickers with a pink and blue kite on a short string; feet bare, knees skinned, the littler one stopping to just stare for a while at the bobbing improbable flight of the kite in air lifted by the sheer momentum of her sister’s strong brown legs.
The desiccated crumpled body of the baby blue jay on the sidewalk beneath a tree, legs drawn up, blue-gray feathers crushed into the cement; and the look of revulsion that the lady had, in her enormous black Prada sunglasses, dark skinny jeans and ballet flats, her skin pearly, her hair frosted, her stroller a Bugaboo Frog. She skirted the bird and shuddered, then walked quickly on.
My friend’s face; beaming with emotion that mirrored the sun yellow of his fleece, the two of us seeing each other for the first time in ten years (except in photographs). His profile against the backdrop of the dancing fountain at Lincoln square: curly eyelashes, dreads pulled back, a smile playing on his dark lips,
The view from 230 Fifth at night; an indigo sky and lights scattered like a diamonds in a jewelry box. The Empire State building right there, smack-dab, lit in green and yellow; potted palms, crowds, champagne. Hair blowing in the wind.
I wore a wicked dress, you guys, and I looked amazing. Super heels, a tiny chocolaty shoulder bag, smouldery eyes. I had a few twenty-five year old boys in a state of euphoria and then shock when I spoke to them, then offered up my wedding band as proof. To further the short circuit in their minds I murmured this: “I’m a mom, too.” Best expression ever. Utter disbelief painted over sheer attraction. I couldn’t stop grinning and thanked them after they docilely hailed us a cab.
I needed this. I needed to encounter a part of myself I haven’t seen much of since becoming a mother. Wine, French food, a hot dress, crowds parting just so I could pass. Who doesn’t need a day like this to remind them of what they are?
As though everything that I am is contained in a composite shell of moments hauled about to contain the soft-bodied hermit crab soul that is mine. Right now it feels like I’ve clambered into some new place. Inside a Fibonacci spiral, the sound of the city comes rushing back. It’s endless traffic and hubbub and movement thrums in my eardrums still. Be still my restless heart. Still I am happy to be home.