Grown children leave and come back in a game of cat & mouse with our hearts.
Road trips. Fox love. YouTube clips. Listen to this song. Try this latte, sushi, cookie. ”Hug?” (him)
He came for the Outlets. I came for the Sea. Both of us underemployed, trying to find our way forward, untangled. You go first. “Hold hands?” (me)
From behind sunglasses, he can tell I’m rolling my eyes or maybe it’s the tilt of my head, the jut of my jaw, the language between us so subtle, so fine tuned, as if I’ve said aloud: “You cannot wear them on the beach.” (He leaves his sneakers in the car.)
I was born barefoot beside the sea. He was delivered in the bathroom of the little farmhouse beside the brook at the foot of the mountain.
I’m surprised by his knees beneath the steering wheel, belonging to a man instead of the boy with whom I’m gallivanting in Maine for the day.
“What do you think of this suit?” he asks, of number 4, in slate blue, while I thumb this poem (?) on my phone from the stool I found beside the dressing-rooms.
Immersed like this in distinct pleasures, we have almost forgotten about…”The baby foxes!” which we say at the exact moment over lunch because the day, turned sunny, would find them lounging on the rock outcropping off the back door.
Almost immediately he offers the same consolation that I am about to speak: “It’ll be good for them to have the den to themselves for the day.”
It’s like this with him, 5 years at home alone with us after his older brother went off to school, simpler, sweeter, easier, like it was the first 5 years alone with my firstborn.
You first, I say, silently to my baby now. Let go of me. I’ll be okay. Not right away. But I have a whole lot of life to lead ahead of me too.
And also this:
It’s been a privilege sharing your childhood.
(Early June, 2019)