Sunday, July 26, 2009

Le Binge

Today was a three-pastry day, not that anyone's counting. I should have seen the storm clouds looming, the forecasted wind and golf-ball-sized hail threatening the microclimate of my head-but I was too busy being sunny and 75. Yesterday. I'd scheduled a few salon services for the afternoon, namely to fix the feet I could no longer stand being attached to my body, but also to repair the sudden damage caused when I cut off my ponytail last weekend in a fit of cosmetological desperation. It's hard to get a good line when you're using kitchen scissors, friends. You get a nice diagonal, and that's about it. It was a Ramona-Quimby-on-crack situation, but Friday I got fixed up in all the right ways; practically an Extreme Makeover, except no porcelain veneers. I was feeling good-the kind of little high that salon fumes and vanity inspire, so decided to take my cute self to Target for a peppermint patty and quick whirl around the clothes department. I'm not a frequent shopper at the Tarjay, but yesterday's stars apparently aligned in favor of the economy and I now understand, fully, how an average American woman can Target herself into financial oblivion. I found really cute jeans two sizes smaller than I thought I wore (think Joe's Jeans Gatsby cut), a couple essential tank tops, and the aforementioned candy treat. Also a magazine, some body scrub, (honey stop reading here) alpha-hydroxy facial buffers, and a cardigan. And bobby pins. A box of Luna Bars. See what I mean? I was lucky to get out alive. It was fun, though...a wonderful diversion. Afterward, I went to see a play with a friend-it was the perfect day, really. Friday.

This morning I woke up early and tried hard to sink back into productive sleep-Saturdays are difficult with the Mr. in another state and the children wandering around like keening orphans, putting in requests for juice or candy-I need to be wide-eyed and alert for them and sleep is part of this, as is caffeine-but I couldn't get there. There was, for some reason, an abundance of stuff in my bed- a plastic slide whistle, leaves...it was gritty. SO later today, when the kids started their Miss Hannigan routine, searching for the benevolent Grace Ferrell-character to teach them tennis or manners, or play with them for Pete's sake, I couldn't come through. What they want is me, engaged in their lives. It's really that simple. They don't understand the psychosis that is this entire crazy thing we've done: uprooted, left every routine and success and relationship of the last eight years in the dust, greenhoused ourselves into financial oblivion... they're kids. They see me and they want me-no matter that I'm trying to get something, anything done to move the plot forward-pick out paint colors, pay taxes, go to the bathroom. There's no sense in trying to cut them off at the pass with "later"-later really gets them going, initiates the primal scream sequence. So, we left.


We needed sustenance-bread, sugar, coffee. There is an Amish bakery here, but we were in get-out-of-dodge mode, tired of the apple fritter, and sought out for an authentic French cafe the next town over, one with an excellent pastry selection I knew could lift us from our (my) deep well of despair, if not in a gastronomical sense, then at least culturally. We felt very cosmopolitan and hopeful-the kids put on shoes-and drove with the corn on our either side, to another world, listening to gospel music on the way, some real down-on-your-knees stuff; which in my experience can be helpful-the children, on the other hand, are uplifted by the Chipmunks and anything in the classic rock genre-so I alternated in the interest of everyone's spiritual welfare.

The array of pastries was impressive and glistened in all the right places. I allowed the kids to choose one item each, while I selected two for mental health reasons. We ordered pain chocolat, an eclair, and a napoleon nestled in its own parchment petticoat, with a baguette thrown in for kicks, taking it all to a local park that is home to a wild blueberry bush and seated along a clear stream with plenty of hiding places. The green canopy was a comfort-if there's one thing I miss most about the city of Atlanta itself, the actual topography, it would be the trees-the landscape. Before I moved there I imagined it'd be like Dallas-flat, hot, dry. Kind of brown. In truth, it is hilly, lush, and green. Also hot. There is something, though-an anonymity, maybe? Mystery....cover. I feel exposed now-exposed, with no cover-but crowded...and somehow, lonely. It's like I've been swept away, as cliche as that sounds, like maybe I didn't really want to do this...but I know I don't know everything, especially about what I really want. I thought I wanted bangs once. I told my husband today that I feel like the kind of person God loves, but doesn't really like. You know what I mean. He loves me because he has to-despite finding our relationship incredibly taxing. It's like this: There are a hundred times a day when I wish I could go back and rethink our decision, but at the same time, if there's going to be a big reveal...a grander purpose in all this, I don't want to miss it. It's just that...I can't see it now.

The kids and I hunched in the woods like hobbits and ate our French fare--which is to say, I ate it while they threw sticks in the water, creeping in and out of the leaves pretending to be explorers in grave danger. Which, actually, may have been me: the crazy woman with chocolate on her face. They are so dear-so lovely in their transparency, so fresh. When I stop to see them like this, I know, at least, that I want to be where they are.

It had been kind of meekly thundering for a while, but we stayed until spotting actual lightning- at which point we held hands and ran to the car, an amoeba across the skatepark, making it just in time.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Your husband and I stopped to catch up briefly after church yesterday, and this was what I was trying to say to him, and to myself. When there is so much work to be done it is easy to lose sight of WHY we work. It is easy to forget the importance of believing there is a destination involved, and thereby failing to grow from the journey. I want to see my kids more--so I finally, at the end of the summer, found someone ELSE to teach a class so I could be home with them. And still I'm doing work. For not nearly enough money. I should get me some French baked goods and run like an amoeba for the hills you miss so much.

Loving you.

BTW, my word verification is "restyful." A message from the man upstairs??