I’ve watched the girls across the street grow up, seen snippets of them walking to the bus on autumn mornings in their knit wool caps, leggings and rain boots. I’ve seen them lean into thick lawns pushing a stubborn mower. I've eyed them raking leaves with their mom and dad who’ve been to parties at our house.

From our downstairs bathroom window I sit on the toilet lid and watch the world go by, my arms wrapped around Calvin’s waist, his arm hooked behind my head in a kind of hug, yanking my hair—always yanking my hair. He bangs on the shutters likes he’s done since he was two, since he was old enough to stand there; my hands—then and now—grasp the harness around his chest just in case he falls.

I peer out the window and watch the seasons turn like pages in a book. In autumn, the hydrangea blushes mauve mirroring the one across the street in the girls’ front yard. Booted students trudge past in pairs on their way to their college courses. In winter, ice beads up on the hydrangea’s naked branches which shiver in the bitter wind. In late spring I watch buds emerge from joints in its thin speckled pear-skin bark, each shoot eventually forming into a branch of its own. In summer the boughs droop with popcorn-ball blossoms. Rudy lays like the Sphinx unleashed in the grass just beyond the shrub, sometimes all day long.

I’ve seen the girls go from riding trikes to bikes to aluminum scooters. Now, balancing on skate boards, their blond hair billows behind their backs like golden waterfalls in wind. The younger has eyes like Cleopatra, the eldest, that of a lake, and their long slender bodies remind me of saplings, and of their mother.

Now and then I see a boy come to visit after school and, as I clutch Calvin, my palm resting over his belly, I’m reminded of my first sweetheart. He was white-blond like so many swimmers I knew, and he played the trumpet like a pro. His parents were very cool, and they seemed to love me though I was two years older than their boy, and in high school.

As I reminisce, gazing out the window into the fading light, I feel a sting in my heart knowing Calvin will likely never be that boy to anyone. He won't send love notes on folded pieces of paper. He won't walk a sweetheart home from school. He won't ask his crush to a dance, nor will he likely dance at all. He won't kiss his darling while in the crook of a tree or in the woods or in a gentle river that bends and flows to the sea. He won't be anyone's sweetheart, not really, not as long as the seizures persist and the drugs dissolve his potential like these thoughts dissolving my heart.

No comments:

Post a Comment