My friend sent me some flower essences in the mail, in a package carefully wrapped up in brown paper and transparent tape, with three stickers shaped like animals pasted on, I can't remember which animals but I think maybe there was a whale and they were definitely pink and blue and yellow, and I've just opened the bottle of pink yarrow, for confidence and boundaries, and I wondered if it would smell like flowers but it was pure brandy basically, and there were no instructions but I thought, one drop is probably good, and I missed my mouth and now I've got confidence and boundaries running down my chin.
Eleven years ago, I was married and I lived in a house that I named Beit Balagan, which means "the house of happy chaos" in Hebrew. I had it spelled out in rainbow plastic letters, little magnets stuck to the front door, because I wanted it to be true, even though it never was. And then tonight, I was sitting at the end of the table, people were laughing and telling stories, and the baby was dropping smushed-up chunks of banana on the floor, and the kids were rolling around in the living room, and the table was a mess of homemade challah and butter and salt and candy wrappers and plates of half-eaten food and all of a sudden I remembered the rainbow plastic magnets on the door and thought, here I am.
I was inside all day, crunched up and angry and rushing, and then I walked outside and the dusk was full of towering clouds and dark spaces and the wind was full of water and I felt like bones and blood and flesh again.
The kitchen windows are fogged up, steamy from the noodles I'm cooking, and I see a flash of white behind the trees, and I know it's the moon, even though I can't see the shape of it in the dark clutter of branches.
It's been a whole entire day, sort of frantic and too slow all at the same time, and I feel like a hamster on a wheel, but now we have a whole cord of wood stacked at the side of the house, covered up snug just before it started to rain, and it's late late late, but I saw the sky lit up like dawn when I went to the kitchen to get a glass of water and craned my neck, trying to find the full moon through the tree branches, and then slipped outside, barefoot on the chilly damp grass, and walked until I could see it through the mist, silhouetting the oak leaves.
It's autumn all of a sudden, and cold, and I am sitting here on the grey couch under a warm eggplant-colored blanket that feels like kittens, feeling heavy-eyed and content, and I can hear the wind rushing through the trees outside, and I did a lot today and I have a lot to do tomorrow, but right now is soft quiet in-between.
My nibling is a year and a half old and his favorite thing is a pink plastic toothbrush holder, the kind that's a long cylinder in two pieces that you push together to close it, and when you pull them apart it makes a little suction-y pop, which must sound like HUP to him, because he pulls it apart and says HUP and then grins beatifically up at us with his four jagged little teeth, over and over, and then we all do it, HUP, and smile at each other.
I am sitting in the dark, in front of the woodstove, watching a small fire I made with an egg carton and a twist of brown paper and a small cardboard shipping box, rolled up into a log, and I am thinking about silence. Tonight is the last night before they come back, and it's quiet, and I remember how quiet it was the night they left and how big that silence felt, and I remember how quiet it was at the lake and how I sat there listening to that silence and I realized that it was the same silence as the night they left, and the silence at the lake was big too, but sweet, and here I am watching the flames eat up the cardboard and get low and dim and turn into glowing worms, crawling along the edge of the ashes, and I am listening to the big sweet silence of ending, and thinking about the the space endings make, where something new can take root.
I stood at the end of the dock, barefoot on the smooth warm grey boards, staying carefully to the left to avoid the place where the beam has rotted away underneath, and felt the soft sun on my back, and saw my shadow reflecting up from inside the bluegreenbrowngold water, full of rising and falling motes, like dust in a sunbeam. I tried to take its picture, but it wouldn't be photographed, so I stood there and tried to memorize it.
I want to take this whole lake home with me. I want to go without shoes for so many days I lose them, and get bored and go on boats and get a sunburned nose and see how many freckles I have if I really work at it and swim in cool golden water and imagine cities in the clouds and watch the same videos over and over with the kiddo twined around me, hooking her legs over mine and kneading the soft flesh of my upper arm, and listen to the thousand thousand sounds this dock makes.
Then I went back up to the cabin to cut avocados and sprinkle them with salt and make buttery bread with the last of the butter. And came back down to the dock. And went back up again to cut the crusts off.
The dock splashes and splishes and splooshes and splonks and plips and plops and plonks and glugs and sloshes and slups and slishes, and drip, drip, drips.
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© Francie Nevill and Every Sweet Thing, 2017.