01 March 2006

Damn, she loves to write.

We studied outside for a magnificent forty-seven minutes today. During this time Tyler wrote out three sentences and diagrammed them, crept around the corner of the house to surprise his sister (who screamed for thirty seconds when he popped up out of the bushes), dropped his pencil countless times, and planned all the things he wanted to do after we finished homework--play catch, walk the dogs, visit his Pop. Eva came down from the house to ask me a question, her high-heeled boots sinking into the earth, unsteady over the soft lawn, to where we sat at the patio beside the empty pool. I was all goosebumpy, cold elbows and knees, wrapped in my red coat but chilled in the wind, hair blowing; Tyler was in his shorts, pretending he wasn't cold, squirming like he was, shaking the whole table, stubbornly staying outside.

While Eva and I were talking, Alysha crawled out the study window and crept toward us sock-footed, her pleated school skirt swinging as she tip-toed exaggeratedly. We could hear voices across the fields coming up from the barn and hounds barking in someone else's yard, a mile away. And the forty-seven minutes were worth every bit of procrastination because when we went inside, up to Tyler's bedroom to finish, his cheeks were flushed and he was happy, bounding up onto the bed, jumping as he recited his vocabulary words, running around the room flicking open the blinds.

What makes you feel alive?
Remember that hard, hard laughter as a child? When your uncles came to visit and made you laugh so hard at dinner that you spat out your milk. And then laughed at you for spitting it out. You laughed with them, falling out of your chair sometimes, unable to contain it.
Climbing trees all by yourself, finding a new tree that your brother had never climbed and going higher, higher, clawing at the sky, hanging onto the utmost branches and swaying with the wind. The sky. The wind.Big things that make you feel smaller. Small things that make you feel bigger.Getting everything you are feeling into a song and singing it in the woods, sitting beneath an old bridge, watching leaves carried by the river, hitting a harmony just right, new bleeding, breathing prose that curls up off the page like the steam from morning tea, your morning tea.
I've been having tea in the morning.
When I come to tutor at this house I feel like a Bronte governess. All the coffee-colored walls and bookshelves in the library, the ivory molding and the high ceilings, the echo of my step, my voice when I come in the side door. Most of the house is light and airy, not dark like the senile mansions in those books, but the Bronte feeling is especially strong when I descend the front stairs before leaving each day. They are arching mahogany stairs, with a great chandelier hanging between them and tall dark doors at the bottom. Tyler sees nothing grand about them and mostly trips at the top and tumbles down, over the soft Berber runner, on his belly. But I go down on both feet and stand erect but feel estranged and out of place, and the whole house seems mysterious.
I've been writing what I want to again. In the margins of my notebooks, in the pages of my journal. Eva and I are planning a weekend trip to Eastern Market. Her away message says: any job that includes eating skittles, playing checkers, and crawling in through the window is a good job. True.
What makes you feel more alive?

2 comments:

naomi said...

black ink, scrawled on a page. wind through my hair. quietude, sometimes, and sometimes screaming my lungs out for sheer joy. sparkling eyes, and secrets and stories and coffee breaks that run too long.

laughter.

silence.

glory.

truth.

Hannah said...

especially coffee breaks that run too long. and anyone who helps me loose track of time.