25 September 2013

come again

Dream Marks on My Pillow by Ana Lancu
Last night before bed, I stepped out onto the front porch while Booker T. raced with a predatory growl towards the woods behind our house.  I waited for him to return, a triumphant skip in his step telling me all was safe and sound thanks to him, and from there on the front steps I noticed there was no moon out, or at least not one I could see.  A few stars dotted the sky but the yard was darker than usual and my big black dog crept back up beside me almost camouflaged.

I had been thinking of her off and on all day--my sweet Nanny who left us in June--and another round of loss swept through me there...no moonlight only made me miss her more. I scratched Booker's ears and cried, soft so that no one would hear, as if anyone was listening at that time of night.

I'll never be a little girl again.
I'll never see her shrug her shoulders
the way she always did.
I'll never see her handwriting on a
letter in my mailbox.
I'll never see her listening with interest
to my little boy's chatter the way she
always delighted in whatever I had to say.
I'll never see her again.

Ryan let Macauley sleep with us--a real treat on a school night--and with puffy eyes I slipped into the tiny sliver of our king size bed left for me, my son's now long legs tucked in close to mine and my big black dog in a ball at my feet, my husband miles of blankets and pillows away. Our room was dark and warm and I read only a few pages of my book before I floated into sleep.

And then, she was there...standing on my front walk, reaching out to me with a piece of paper in her hand.  He was there, too, a few feet behind her and to the side in dark blue jeans and the striped shirt he had on in their only picture with Macauley when he was a baby.  I grabbed her and squeezed her and cried for her to stay.  She just stood there and let me, still holding the paper.

I blinked and turned to see the numbers on the clock pushing me to start another day. I stared at the ceiling, making myself remember seeing her, knowing how dreams come and go if you don't commit them to long-term memory...like so many days I spent with her or spent not with her...they just slip away.

I could have cried in the car this evening when I told Ryan on the way to dinner. He said maybe it was a sign but he didn't say of what.  If I cry for her again tonight, will she be there on my front steps when I close my eyes?

the heart breaks and breaks
and lives by breaking
It is necessary to go
through dark and deeper dark
and not to turn

~Stanley Kunitz
"The Testing Tree"


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