November 20th, 2008
Sunlight making early morning shadows. Moisture in the wind that swirls round. It is thirty five degrees and holding. Another November day with a blue-gray sky getting lower and threatening. The weight of air and cold pushing down. Filling lungs. Clouding heads. But making us braver each day. We are tackling the tasks. Checking them off lists. Keeping ourselves busy. Distracted. In the groove. It is best to keep working. To not think too much about what's at hand. Because overthinking it, looking at it too long, makes for blindness. And when blindness comes it is not hard for ignorance to follow. So we plug away. At words and colors. Keeping house. Raising a kid. Staying sane and hopeful, as the unpredictable seconds and minutes that make up our lifetime continue ticking away.
Another day. Up with the urge, but bodies unwilling. An old cat's unsettling meow. Dog paws click-clacking the hardwood floors. And the alarm clock sounds.
I threw the covers aside. Sat up.
"The same thing every day."
I said it, but meant only to think it, and as soon as the words left my mouth, I regretted it. It is not the type of thing your wife wants to hear first thing in the morning. Especially when she is the one getting up day after day to go to a job that is more frustrating than rewarding. Especially when she is the one working to pay the bills, put food on the table, keep a roof over our heads. But it had been said, and when I left to get at the morning chores I'm sure the words were still there, moving around our bedroom in the dark.
We ate breakfast. Listened to the radio. Talked about the auto industry crisis. Felt sympathetic for hard working men and women who are always the sacrifice, but angry at executives for taking bonuses and flying in private jets.
"Goddamned people," I said.
S.B. nodded. Finished her toast.
After breakfast. She was in the bathroom. I was here. At this desk. Hoping to get started on the writing. As S.B. emerged from the bathroom, Little Man appeared. Seemingly out of nowhere. We did not hear his footsteps, his usual morning sounds, but there he was. Arms full of stuffed animals. Hair sticking up. Freshfaced and smiling.
We bundled him up. Coat over pajamas. Slippers on his feet. Hat on his head. And I carried him to the truck. He held me tight. Arms around my neck. A twenty second hug between house and booster seat.
"Thank you!" he cheered, as I buckled him in.
"No, thank you," I said. "I needed that."
And I did. Still do. Such a little thing. The morning rush. A family setting off on their day. And the little kid along for the ride, no sense of urgency, no particular agenda or cares. Just a natural inclination to love.
The thing that has me here. Still and always. The four letter word deserving of a capital "L" and deserving much better than this. But it is all I can muster. This wanna-be writer, stay-at-home Dad, feeling out of his element, holding on the best I can as we continue this path ripe with tight learning curves, sudden starts and stops. The daily detours that keep us lively and alert. Focused. Even on the toughest days. With sunlight making early morning shadows. Moisture in the wind. And blue-gray skies getting lower. Threatening. The weight of air and cold pushing down. Filling lungs. But making us braver each day.
(copyright © 2008 by K.J. Stevens)