emma b. says

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Home for the weekend, weaving through traffic and accidents. Through the subdivisions new as lesions, taupe as the colorless sky, just as tepid and windless as this last day of September.

Home for a funeral, home for a barbeque, home to tell my mother that she needs to let go of her happy fantasy of the married me, the one with children and the mortgage.

There I go, watch me go up the interstate, in my shiny car with the windows down, can't you hear the same sad song on repeat, it's balmy and still enough that my howling trails me in the traffic, and just past the capital I am going to completely lose my shit.

It's not just that the engineer has gone, that his absence is an absess in my side, I feel like I am driving back, back though the diaphanous skins of various pasts, back before the Nut Tree was a suburban parking lot, when there were beacons and totems that weren't just signs listing towards decrepitude, before the big box and the miles upon miles uniform feeding troughs.

So home to my small town and my parents in their piece of paradise in a park, home to my childhood friends and their small children, home to bury the mother of a good friend.

I guess it's begun now. There was the thrill of weddings, and rings and things and the new found, freshly minted and legitimized adulthood. And then there were pregnancies, and in my case infidelity and divorce. Then the first batch of little screamers followed by the second, and now we stand together as we bury our parents. S's mother, always so manicured, always on the phone, sharp of tongue, deadly of wit and a right royal pain in the derriere gave up a battle royale with cancer.

On the way to the memorial I got a little worried about getting lost, I don't know any street names in the network of country roads, I know landmarks. Past the mine, past the house where we had that party that one night, the one where the first love was and we played poker, at the church where you had a piano recital and you got a little plastic bust of Brahms that smelled of plastic. Sitting in a pew towards the back with my girlfriends and my mother. Rocking back and forth between the years and sifting through memory.

That morning I had gone to play tennis with my mother, at the club where I had whiled away eternal summer mornings with the high boredom that only restless kids can have. Back in the late seventies my brother and I used to hunt tadpoles in the creek, later they put in a ping pong table, W and I would piss around on the raquet ball courts, I liked the echo. Still later when I was verging on adolescence they put in a pool where I would gawp at the highschool boys tending the desk, and strut about in all my newly acquired plumage. Also - water aerobics was the craze. In the mid 80's we had tennis camp and drills for the tennis team, our white pleated skirts and those horribly bulky spanky pants, back when the pom poms on our socks had no irony, and the coach had high hopes for my down the line forehand and I had high hopes for a certain blue eyed boy. The ping pong table has been replaced by a television, and raquet ball court is is defacto storage, the glory of the pool, my adolecent heaven has gotten doughty, and all the forested wilderness around the courts, subject of summertime adventures to stave off the herculean task to wait for my parents to finish a second set is paved, is "retired living", how's that for a little irony to go with the those socks. But the club itself, smells just like it did in 1978.

I played really well.

After the memorial I stopped in the parking lot of memorial park, to relive a bit of twin small town rivalry, and my indoctrination into certain illicit substances, but it seems smaller now, the intimidation is all gone, with it summer, the leaves are just starting to turn. By the time I wake up this morning on the first of October autumn will have arrived, having come in on the clear chill of the evening and sooty skies of waning wildfires. Everything and nothing will be different, everything will be a day and a season older, autumn colors and holidays and naked trees and then winter, and another baby due in December and that fulsome longing and daring not to hope and all that bullshit. But I will do it anyway.


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