when I walked into your house

If my life were some kind of Wes Anderson twee film, every night I’d be doing what I’m doing now: standing in a near-empty Walmart, at 9 PM, when everyone else seems home.

It’s cold out. I stand in my scarf and holding my phone, passively waiting for my son to return from getting a cup of water. I feel a profound satisfaction, an entire peace with who I am and where I am. Soon, Nels returns and we begin passively shopping for the things we require. A humidifier (for my daughter’s mysterious and persistent cough). New eyeliner. A corn husk broom. Some junk food. Epsom salts.

My son cavorts alongside me. We move through the garishly-lit aisles and I’m perfectly happy. He helps me look for eyeliner. “Luscious eyeliner. Voluptuous.” His bright, matter-of-fact voice further ridicules the beauty miracle claims made on the bright parcels.

It’s twenty-eight degrees outside. My husband’s car heater works, though. Driving home Stevie Nicks and Don Henley croon, “Leather and Lace” off my iPhone and I get misty-eyed – it’s such a sweet ballad. My son puts his hand on mine and asks, “Mama, what movies did you watch when you were little?” Before I can remember, before I can answer, his voice drops a half octave and he asks, entirely seriously, “Were you as tender as you are now?”

Then: “Did you like junky pizza like you do now?”

Nightlights and to a warm home. I am tired, and happy. My son has joined me the last two days at yoga class – and I can’t get across how meaningful I find his presence, his small body on the mat joyfully finding the postures. Last night: while in Wheel of Life, I felt his hand touch my foot, gently squeezing my toes – a loving gesture he’s done since he was very small.

A hot shower, a bit of milk, and another day put to bed.

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