emma b. says

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pangs and Contentment

Thursday, after our work day we regroup for wine and snacks at AWs, I am feeling flush, and feel the full rush of spring as denoted by my allergies and the tulips and the crocus and the daffies rising despite the dismal rain, so I pick up the Iberico ham and the good cheese at Pasta Works, joke with the charming butcher about not breaking my bank. Jesus Christ, I think those pigs might be magic.

Friday morning I leap out of bed with a rose hang-over to escort KBs daughter to school, there is frost on my car, but the sun is shining, after a month of rain, it's enough to make me kick up with a nearly religious joy, indeed I mouth a word of thanks to the Universe and put on my sunglasses. CB is nine, she is lovely and delightful, as happy to see me as the noodley dogs are, her mom departs for the airport and I let her, except that I don't, kick my ass at Uno after I quiz her on spelling and then we walk to school. We greet her friends and other parents loitering on the playground and as I walk away beneath the magnolia blossoms by the red brick school, I get a pang, or that's inadequate, it's more like mourning. I am bereft that I have no kid to walk to school, or something, I am not sure.... All these fantastic kids I have in my life, including my two nephews, and not so much as a twinge, but the walk to school - didn't exactly break my heart, more like it filled up my heart, and never have I had that kind of nostalgia or yearning. It might be too late, then again it might not be. Even this morning I was at my brother's to give some respite, bouncing like a madwoman on the big purple ball with an infant in my arms, OK he does smile like the Buddha, but he will open those tiny lungs to the sky if you stop bouncing, and all I could think was I love you, but you are making my back ache, and your mom squirted breast milk in your eyes, and I was all ew, just ew.

So I took Theo to the park so J could get groceries and W could grade papers in peace, and we went nuts on the slide, and the love I have for this creature with my dad's ass and my crinkly eyes is astonishing, because I don't think I have ever loved anyone so unconditionally. Parents and siblings aside, in my mind that's an absolute. And since I am being so very saccharine, let me throw in a word for J, who is less my sister-in-law and more of a sister.

So then, contentment.

Friday evening we convene at our local tavern for the Blazers v. Lakers, yet another unexpected pleasure. In that Portland, with all of it's DIY ethic and nonconformist fanaticism is fucking gaga for the Blazers (and the Timbers, but that's a whole 'nother tale) and I am gaga for that Young French Thing, so the sight of the hipsters and the bewhiskered cheering for mainstream sports is somehow cheering, we drink dollar beers and eat nachos, and I go to bed early.

Saturday. Team Zumba Zombies checks out a new club - we all have upgraded our 24 Hour memberships to all club access, and we go to the new McLoughlin facility next to La Carreta, the dance room overlooks the river. We get there super early and fiddle around on machines, dance our pants off and steam, sauna, pool. It's like a spa, it's most excellent. By Sunday I will be aching from all of those fancy-ass machines. I come home and immediately head out for a family birthday party, J's family, who are my own, now, thanks to their inclusion, chat with my college roommate who is my sister-in-law's sister's neighbor, drink some beer, eat some cake, the usual. I am inexplicably happy to be shivering in the wind tunnel at Overlook Park, where I have never been before, looking onto the river and the West Hills, tagging after toddlers belonging to extended family and chatting with J's parents who I adore. I have a long conversation with college roommate's longtime husband that I first met when I was 18 years old, we take notes, we chat with my brother, everyone bonds over bands, and that is life in Portland, you bond over bands, beer, kids, bikes, dogs and the best butcher.

Later I head over to J and A's - J is assembling pizzas, there is money down on Connect 4, their daughter catches me trying to filch a cigarette from my purse and questions then upbraids. I come home early, and I am content until I pass under the lintel and am again reminded of the emptiness of my home, and mostly I am unbothered by this, especially when I am craving silence, but the juxtaposition is so stark sometimes, and even though the television is on and I've got my headphones on, it's a poor substitute. Sunday. After I leave my brother's house I come home and do some Spring cleaning, think about digging up some dandelions, but don't. Instead I head downtown, I haven't been since January when I was laid off. Haven't crossed any rivers, stayed solidly on the East Side, so I venture across the river, dodging bikers, to Nike Town in pursuit of dance shoes. They don't have my size, but they are on sale so I purchase a size 6 1/2 and the cashier asks me if it's for Zumba, uh huh.

It's taken three and a half years, but I know now that this is where I belong.