Sunday, March 14


This is what you have been waiting for, he used to say to me.
And I'd say, What?

And he'd say, This — holding up my cheese and mustard sandwich.
And I'd say, What?

And he'd say, This, sort of looking around.

Marie Howe, from "The Gate"
In the days after the Critter was first born, I felt as though my old life — the one in which nobody wailed day and night for the sustenance of my milk, my warm arms — was like a bird, perched on the ledge just outside our bedroom window. I felt as though a day would come when, if I opened that window, the bird would fly back into our apartment. And then one day I realized: that bird has flown, never never never to come back.

And so I let go of the past (and have since forgotten what it was like), and though I had no desire to wish away the Critter's infancy and toddlerhood, I looked ahead to the future, when he will be in school and I no longer working odd hours and late into the night. And the future seemed so so distant, and I wondered if I would survive to see it.

And then one day, I realized that I had forgotten about both the bird and my dream of the future. The Critter was napping in his room and the apartment silent but for the mysterious clicking of the refrigerator, and there I was, sitting at my desk, to one side the unmade bed and to the other side a plate emptied of all but a few crumbs from my lunch, and I was no longer planning, expecting, or in any way even thinking about being anywhere else.

Though now that it comes to mind, I must say I do like to think about that bird and imagine where it has gone — somewhere far south of here, I hope, where the ocean waters are a clear and saturated blue. Or perhaps north of here, to the mountains ...

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