Kurt gave me flowers, yesterday. There was one, lonely pink rose in the bundle of orange. I thought she was me.
We rode the carousel under the shadow of the cathedral, the one with all the animals. Scouty and I had spent the afternoon going over our choices. She wanted to ride the sea horse, she said. Or maybe the jack rabbit.
Going around, I was face to face with the giraffe. His plastic eye was almost human with flecks of brown and a cold, dilated pupil. "Look at their eyes," I said to Scouty, surveying the whirling parade of animals. All of them had beautiful, haunted eyes.
"Look at me go!" she called out in response.
There is a fountain near the library gilded with brass turtles, their shine covered over in matte turquoise. We stopped there just to put our feet in the water. "Don't get your clothes wet," I said to the girls and Kurt glanced up at me, something like defeat and happiness mingling on his face. They would be soaked almost before I could finish my warning.
Mothers have to say these things. Don't get wet. Don't mess up your dress. Don't pick up rocks from the parking lot. Don't fill your pockets with them. Don't kick the dirt on the field.
I only say them to give my girls the chance to feel free, for moment.
Scouty told me once that it feels kind of good to be bad. I agreed with her, but instead of saying so, I said, "Next time you need to listen to Daddy when she says not to run at the zoo."
I know that no one is listening, even as they hear me, and I love them. I don't listen, either.
I linked this post up with Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary's Just Write. Do you have a minute to do some free writing today? (You know you do.) Link up, too and find some great writers (and friends) in the process.