Joined in process

My friend sets a blanket on my lap, because her house is open to the cool morning. She places my manuscript in front of us and spoons tentative, consistent statements into enlivened air. Enthusiasm sparks, tempered by her friendly concern for me.

I hold much within, she says, that textures the story but is unavailable to her.

In June, no, even before, in May or April, I pronounced in the living room to my son and husband that what we needed this summer was a cross-country road trip. "We'll give him an early 18th birthday present. His sister got a laptop, and he's always yearned to gaze across the continental divide. Maybe chase a tornado? Well, not in the minivan, but, hm, yeah."

My chair scraped as I stood and spoke to the full room, "I'm starting a class called 'Market Those Musings' (I over-enunciated), for writers who want to learn to sell their work."

Do you think I have a squirrel's chance on the freeway?

I watch my son enter the stuffy classroom. Tall, angular, hair askew just that way. A boy at the table in front of his says, "You're back. Where were you?"

"I worked on college stuff last year."

"Oh, I suppose Princeton or something, knowing you."

My ears don't catch the rest. A warm smile crosses my face, joy for my son, whose homeschool resource center was saved from bureaucrats' axes. Yet a stab of comprehension: that college class last year set his thoughts on edge, snatched away a bit of innocence. I should have insisted he stay here, cocooned with friends, even while uncertain winds blew.

"You might not need to reach a grand conclusion," she said, her legs crossed casual. Her straight, neat hair framed her face. She'd let me cozy up to a huge pastel pillow on the couch, while she sat across from me and listened. "Give things time to gel in your mind," she went on to say.

I talked about friends from my childhood, and then about a day in sixth grade.

"I can understand why you reacted the way you did," she stated. (As if anyone in passing might naturally understand.)

I burst into tears.

I didn't finalize the road trip. I brought it up, apologetic, while driving him to Value Village for school clothes. "We didn't go anywhere dramatic, I guess," I said. "I'm sorry."

"I didn't really want to," my son said.


Leiselb said…
Lovely glimpses into your life....
elixir said…
This post was stirring.
I think you have better than a squirrels chance. Just make sure to look both ways!
Deanna said…
Lovely to find you both here. Thanks.
sufferingsummer said…
this felt warm and familiar. I love the little tastes from life they make it feel a bit more worth living.
Deanna said…
Thanks, suffering summer. May you have warm, familiar tastes to receive and share all week.