Here was an August day nothing happened.
I keep typing and backspacing. Unwriting what I could write here. The same way that time itself makes and unmakes. Sweet nothing happens over and over. And builds up to all that is and then tumbles down grain by grain into nothing once again. The kind of nothing that now feels almost painful to remember. Days like phantom limbs in the body of memory.
This has been happening all my life. First I was a wide-eyed bat-blind child:
No one remembers much what happened this day. But my mother writes back when I show her the picture in January: "Ahhh. I wish we could go back." I must want to go back, too, sending her this knock-kneed Valentine of my myopic self on the same day that I wade through the flat aftermath of a wedding. I've never seen this side of a wedding -- having always been the oldest and the first to go -- I guessed at the first half, the uphill hoopla of the preparations but I never realized there was a downhill dragging down of all the bunting every bit as dismal as taking down the tree come January. It's not grief exactly and I'm not in danger of drowning by night in my own tears, but I am weary with my groaning.
But if we could go back, what would we be going back to? A day like any day in June. No piquant sense of return if we were really there. Nothing would seem vintage or be remembered as dear, but everything only ordinary. A day not any more memorable than today. We eat dinner with my parents. We clear the table. Making and unmaking. Before I can begin to worry where the boys have got to, Fritz has walked down to the park to call them home.
"I am glad he is so much a hands-on father with them," I tell my mother, resting my gray head on her shoulder, "but it makes me feel somehow sad. Before, with the girls, he never would have done that. Then I always had to be on alert for everything. So now I'm glad I don't have to, but also I am sad."
She leans her white head on my gray one, chuckles and sighs, "Like who am I now if I'm not who I was?"