These four walls are closing in. We move from couch to bathroom to bedroom to kitchen and back again. The repetitiveness of shadowing my kid—it feels the same with my writing. Returning to the same old themes and places. The word that comes to mind is mundane.
Because of the pandemic, the beloved fields near our home are, from sunrise to sunset, temporarily closed to the public. The trails around them are not off limits, but remain treacherous. Daily temperatures are still too low to melt rock-hard ice, especially in shady places. Instead, I wander along sanded asphalt, skate across frozen lakes formed in the low spots of salt-blanched sidewalks. After dawn and at dusk, when streets are empty, I stroll down their centers, which feels slightly freeing. Still, the dog and I are longing to roam wild in wide-open and unfrozen spaces.
Regrettably, the vaccine rollout in Maine is now mostly age-based, so my son won't get vaccinated until summer. The governor's decision to bypass people with high-risk medical conditions is troubling. It means we'll be keeping Calvin home from school longer than we ever thought possible. Nearly a year has passed of having him home alone with me. It's been a burden on my mind, body and spirit; the only person with whom I spend endless daytimes can't speak, and his needs are unceasing. I'm aching to connect, commune, relate with other people. It's in the very nature of my being. I know I'm not alone in that feeling.
Thankfully, I receive a rare visitor. One of Michael's former students drove up from Portland just to see me. We sit outside, twelve feet apart on the glacier that is our back yard. I place my plastic chair where I can see Calvin in the house, spinning in his jumper. Hector's thick, bleached, sun-gold hair is a welcome shock of color against Maine's white winter. To gaze upon a familiar, maskless face for more than a moment feels magnificent. In the cold, we speak of adventure and of heartache, of our vintage Mustangs and of new beginnings. We see each other smile. We laugh together. Upon his leaving, we give each other virtual hugs and I tell him that I love him. He'll be moving away in a few months. I'll miss his visits.
Back inside I get my son out of his jumper. He leads me to the green couch, his favorite spot to spend less than one minute in my lap before getting off and motoring in circles. That word comes to mind again—mundane. But then I look up it up in the thesaurus for more context and see its second definition—earthly, worldly, terrestrial, temporal, sensual—and I feel grounded, renewed, somehow unfettered.
|One such day two years ago.