Pulling it Together
I wake up in a field of forget-me-nots, blooming all over the walls of my niece's room. Beyond them, the house stirs, softly at first with my sister and brother-in-law's muffled voices, then comes wide awake with children's chatter, like a flock of starlings swirling in the hall. I reach for my phone to check the time. Five in the morning in Arkansas. Half-past seven in Newfoundland. I face the open closet door in my mind. Which panic attack to wear this morning? The so very late final chapters of my book? The scholarly talk I'm scheduled to deliver here on Friday, and have yet to write? Tax returns waiting for me when I get home next week? Choose one, I tell myself. You can't wear it all. Oh but I can try, says my frantic brain, like my little niece running up and down the stairs last night to put one more adornment on to show Auntie.
Wait. Just one more thing. Adding the tiara, the bracelet, the high heel shoes I sent her at Christmas time, one sprint at a time. Auntie Kiki, Auntie Kiki, see this. She twirls and then waits for my praise.
So beautiful, darling. Perfect.
Wait. One more thing.
Her satin heels clattering over the stairs. The breathless return. The offering of self. The self-appraisal. The little frown.
Always one more thing between us and our most pleasing, perfect selves. Always, the same damn set of stairs.
Labels: soul and spirit