We walk to the park so the girls can play in the new splash pad, relief from the late August heat, a change, something not the inside of the house.
Vivian insists on walking “Lizzie”-her pretend pet…lizard on my old dog chain, remnant of a youth I haven’t seen in forever. I smiled when I found it, remembering my friend Pierre wrapping it around my neck when I was 14 or so, closing the padlock. I grimaced, remembering the largest pair of bolt cutters I have ever seen closing in on my throat two years later, long after I had lost the keys.
The chain felt like a weight when it was locked on me, and yet I missed it when it was gone. Never enough to put it back. But enough to mourn it’s absence.
We walk and I can hear the chain clinking against the pavement, and I marvel at it’s reincarnation as a toy, years and moments away from the 14 year old I was, the messed up little girl. We walk and I imagine Vivian in a few more years-today she lost her first tooth, a linear progression from the first one she ever had. Tomorrow, soon, she will be 14 as well, more woman than girl, and I shall be tormented, wondering what secrets and pain she hides from me.
But that’s a thought for another day.
We walk home after much whining, cajoling and promising. Too close to the dinner witching hour, I don’t want to be caught with crying children too, so we hoof it home, balancing acts on the curbs as we go, popsicles (which cost far more than they ever did when I was their age, causing “old lady Dora” to kick in and secretly rant in her head how when SHE was a girl, popsicles were only 10 cents…) in hand.
As we walk, Rosalyn asks what an apartment building is, and I answer, adding “someday we might live in one. Man I hope not.” and it hits me that it’s highly likely we will, despite my hatred for them. It hits me that I will likely lose my house and all that bonuses that go with it, that I will let this dream of mine slip through my fingers.
It also occurs to me then, that the side effect of loss is a good night sleep, and the ability to just live for now, and dream bigger. The sun is shining, the grass is green, and my children tiring as we walk, their bellies wanting for their dinner, their skin dusky from the sun and the dirt and the day.
When we lose things, we make room for the better ones we truly deserve. We just have to keep looking.