night swim

Blog Via Email | March 19, 2010

the house is dark brown, it's evening, the sun is giving off its last
efforts before the earth rotates again, leaving it behind. Laura
doesn't like to have house lights on, she is obsessive about energy
costs. and even now, when she is not home, no one thinks to turn on
the lights.

Kaitlyn comes to the door in her pink one-piece and announces that
they are going to go into the spa and she wanted to know if we will
join them. Matt is packing for his trip and I'm sitting with my
computer. We both turn her down. Then she says in her parrot-speak,
channeling my sister through her five year old voice, "come on, it'll
be reeeaaalllyyy fun..." and we both say no.

But the energy is pulsating, it grows. there is life in the house.
Kaden is in his pale blue swim trunks that have brown pineapples
stamped on them, his two year old belly a cantaloupe under his skin,
his hair overgrown, laura only takes him for a cut a couple times a

and here is the moment that is imprinted inside me. in the dim of the
house, i sit on my bed in the room off of the entry way, a clear view
of the entry and a portion of the dining room. the light just barely
coming in from the western facing windows. it is not black, it is
brown, it is coco, it is a unique lighting only found in sacramento,
the sacramento sun setting and shining its power into the single story
sacramento home. casting shapes of light and color that illuminate the
rest, leaving a strange dance of bright and dark.

night never seems as dark as i knew it in minnesota. i can see at night.
the cool air that isn't cold, just cool. just enough to make my skin
itch after having been in the noon sun of the day, burning. the
contradiction. but still able to wear a tank top and shorts without
discomfort. still sweat and cannot sleep, even though it's only
seventy degrees at most. a confusing temperature, climate. and it
blows into the window behind me to the east.

and all i see is flashes of flesh, pink, pale blue, and beige. and the
sound of giggling. of slap, slap, slap; little naked feet against the
hardwood floor, running in a circuit. the energy has made them wild.
the promise of a late night swim has filled the children with excitement that cannot be contained, cannot be held in place, must be
released. must be expressed. but they are too young. there is no
appropriate expression. only wildness. and so they run and laugh and
scream and cannot stop. their hearts fluttering, feet slapping. bare
skin in blurs.

it is contagious, i'm filled with the excitement, i want to bathe in
it. i get up and feel light, feel lifted, my heart is beating faster,
i'm smiling
i am smiling
i almost laugh, but it is more difficult for me, i am old. i am not
new. i am nearing the end of 'young'. i have moved beyond larval
stage, beyond a pup, beyond the gangly adolescence, beyond the glowing
youth, am reaching the peak and end of reproduction years (getting
dramatic here), i feel it. feel the weight of it. but in this instant
it is mostly forgot - except for the slowness, the torn desire between
running with bare feet and sitting, focusing my thoughts on other

but i'm taken up. i'm in the moment. i'm letting myself taste elation,
though my senses are not as acute for it now. I will never taste it
the same way as they do in this moment. i will never be a child again.
but i let myself for now, for a partial moment, get lost in it, as
lost as an adult can be.

slap slap slap, they run and giggle and I'm nearing the door. slap
slap slap, i'm smiling and wishing for the past, wishing for the 'new'
that they are tasting right now. slap slap slap, I see the children
approaching as they turn the corner again. slap slap smack. and kaden
is on the floor. his hands struck the floor, his chest. and it is all
silent. he does not breathe.

then it hits his brain, the pain. the blood rushes into his hands and
arms and face, he is pink all over from the shift in his vascular
system. then the tears. gushing salt water and his face contorts into
agony. the screaming. I lift him up and hold him close, his tears on
my collar bone. he leans into me. i am a comfort. i kiss his hands he
has pressed together. i can feel the sting, i know it well, i was once
a child. i wish i could take it away. and my kisses take it away. soon
he forgets. his face returns to its relaxed state.

i set his small body down and he takes off. back to the moment he had
just been ripped out of. as though he hadn't fallen. as though nothing
had happened. he is running and giggling and i can hear the bare feet
smacking again.

but i am gone. i cannot shift from one to another so easily. my memory
lasts longer than a two year old human, something along the years has
shifted. i cannot forget.

i went back into my room and took up my computer again. wearing my
frown. feeling my old body. sad that the boy got hurt.

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