The way we dance / by Christina Rosalie

Little Sprout: We danced today, you and I.

You wound your way between my knees, around my swivel chair, across my studio floor scattering things about, mouthing everything, drooling, laughing. And I, well, I was busy dreaming; stringing words together, watching sunlight, reading things and feeling hopeful. I was also trying to get just about a hundred things done. Eighty nine still wait, but so? We danced.

You unwound spools of thread and uncased CDs and pulled the contents of every low opening drawer onto the floor: mostly paper, some postcards, a pile of forgotten wallpaper from when we first staked a claim here, in this house. I watched. I reached for you. I picked you up. We twirled. You laughed.

I watched the havoc gathering on my floor and let it gather. I made paragraphs, and sought after things; I discovered, replied, and tried to cover my ears so that the simultaneous voices of optimism and fear would drown each other out. All day I kept going after the things that beg for words and time.

So much is happening right now, and it feels like the moment a crow lifts dark and sudden from a quiet branch, and all around it the air is filled with the sudden, invisible eddies of movement. That is what the moments are like right now. Like flight. Or perhaps the moments just before, when the bird is neither on the branch, or off it, but in motion, lifting off.

We saw a crow like this, later, running. We startled it from a pine; its feathers black and glossy in the sun. You wore a red fleece snowsuit, and hugged a raggedy stuffed moose in the stroller. I ran hard, feeling resistance from thighs that skied all yesterday afternoon. I almost quit a dozen times. The road was mud and slush, and you weigh no small amount, but instead I began to tell you how things go.

In panted breaths I told you how there is always this resistance; how there is always a whispered voice that taunts give up, and you might just fail. And how the only answer is so what?

So I ran until I could feel my heart thunking hard in my chest, and my hands were numb and my cheeks flushed bright red with cold and exertion, and I finished.

By then you were asleep, your head tilting, slack against your shoulder. I carried you inside, and in the sudden warmth you woke, eyes still dreamy, and looked about—smiling ever so slightly when your gaze landed on my face. And so we danced. I held you close, breathing in the fragrance of your warm, rumpled hair. You pressed your cheek against my shoulder, and pulled your knees up and tucked close as though your body still remembers when you grew below my heart, tucked just so.

And so the day went by. Things happened, things got done, your brother came home from his grandparents, the sun set, and dishes accumulated in the sink. And in between we shared the succulent sections of a ruby grapefruit.

You liked each wobbly gem colored morsel, the bitter skin removed, and mushed them in your little hands before sticking them into your mouth. I learned about clipping paths on Illustrator. You pushed a ball around the floor. And today, like every other day, we danced. You are one year old. I love you so.