we go out for dinner in a group on Monday. as we sit down, someone at the table announces Robin Williams has died. “Robin Williams?” i ask in shock. that Robin Williams? the Robin Williams? a conversation is carried to confirm the news pinged by an iphone. M stays characteristically quiet throughout.

at the end of the meal, M announces we need to stop at a party shop. when asked for a reason, he makes a flimsy excuse. much later, i realize he had been thinking of Williams during the meal; he had been thinking of ways to remember this funny, dear, alien man; he wanted to stop at the party shop for rainbow suspenders.

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at a local Dairy Queen:

  1. an 8 or 9 year old girl lights up at the sight of her school librarian–a wondrous meeting out of context. summer vacation and an ice cream shop. she wants to know about how the library is. she wants to know if the books are ready. the librarian bids her farewell with “enjoy the last week of summer!”
  2. an old woman, 65 perhaps, approaches the counter to retrieve her order (hot dog and a small banana split), then slowly makes her way out of the shop. some patience or quietness in her movements says this is a sort of ritual. i wonder how long she has been coming here for hot dogs and ice cream.
  3. a 5-year-old nursing a sundae examines her own lap. “my dress is stained!” she announces to her father, her sister, the entire patio.

we have to put bits of our old selves away, a few words on a slip of paper, rolled up in a tiny bottle, then tucked away. we must. or who we were calcifies around us, and we march through our todays like armadillos. protected from the new and wonderful.

every once in a while, you find one of those old bottles. you open it. you read it. and old dreams bloom to fill every space in your consciousness. you never outgrew them; they are who you’ve always been; you just forgot.

keep trying to tame my out-at-elbows, brimming-over, running-at-the-edges life; when what needs taming is my broken heart. (broken hearts cannot be tamed, only mended.)

the printed word. there are times when a string of words left behind by authors of another space, another chronology suddenly makes everything ok again. the darkness is a little less impenetrable, i a little braver. that i-am-doing-it-all-wrong filter falls. i breathe.

our brave little gooseberry bush gave us 6 pounds of fruit this year. He and i spent hours at the diningroom table, with our respective scissors, topping and tailing the giant bowl of berries between us. Kitten prowled about, occasionally dipping his head into the bowl, surfacing stems in teeth, dangling gooseberries. his green veined marbles to bat and roll along the wood floor.

this is summer.

riding on a brown and tan schwinn cruiser one early spring morning, basket in front, sparkling sun above. i thought, “i would like this to be my life–ride my bike, and attempt to draw the perfect Miffy everyday.” that would be enough.