In the area where they’re building new homes, where before it was trees and native plants and now they’ve cleared it out, razed and re-sculpted it, planted new grass and trees to make it look like it was always there, smoothed over like a birthday cake—now before the homes were built how everything just lay there quietly in wait, the grass grown high on the meadow like it was before, with birds singing and the remaining trees cut in the shape of an amphitheater bowl looking down.
Lily stayed home sick and in the afternoon when I got back from work we went for ice cream and sat outside in the sun, and talked about suicide—a kid at her school who just did it the day before, and they were all talking about it on a group chat.
Dawn went to D.C. and her last night was a bad night with the kids, you forget what bad nights can be like after kids get older—Charlotte (9) climbed into bed with me in the morning after Dawn was gone and the sun was up, and I listened to the sound of her breathing in her sleep, and she hooked her arm around mine and one hand fell on my shoulder and gripped it, so small…but then it was hard to get her to bathe in the morning, and she needed it after a weekend of soccer games and digging up worms, running around in the yard…but she got in the bath and called me in to shampoo her and then again, for the conditioner…and I made her toast with peanut butter and honey, a big glass of milk and children’s vitamins, and she got on the bus and me, off to work…and we agreed the next night she’d sleep with me again, and asked if she could get up for her pink bunny rabbit Pinky, which she’s had since she was not even 2, from an Easter visiting my aunt Sue…though the memory gets mixed and recombined with so many others, and the attachment to that rabbit will run its course, and one day she’ll just have to let it go.
I walked Ginger to the new development but was distracted by work, caught between the need to produce and just celebrate how lucky I was, to work from home two days a week, and have so much flexibility and time.
When Dawn got home I told her about Lily’s phone and the conversation we had about it, how I tried to use it as a learning moment, the fact we were just talking about how lucky she said she felt, that she had friends with parents who’d died or were getting divorced and here she was crying like this over a broken phone, a shattered device.
I wanted for her to go on without it for a while, to be freed or at least feel what it was like to let go. I offered to take it into a kiosk to see what the options were for fixing it but she had a friend with a protective case she said Lily could have that would work even if it was shattered, so she took it to school even though I’m not sure it’s safe to touch without getting small slivers of glass in the thumb. I told her that, but don’t think she listened or cares.