My dreams have been restless of late. Two nights ago my husband and I were entertaining suitors, men and women who wanted to carry off and then marry our girlchild. In the dream my daughter was so young she was still Sophia; her fine blonde hair and had that childish fullness in her cheeks. And in the dream Ralph and I had no choice but to find the best stranger for her, in a whirlwind speed-dating scenario. I remember a desperation, a hopelessness, as I interviewed strangers with smiling mouths but who knew what lurked behind. Last night dreams were not so frightful, but were exhausting nevertheless. I held a man’s hand, or rather he held mine. He was old enough to be my father but he only meant it in the friendliest of way. I still felt odd. As with the child-marrying dream, it was I who was out of sync, out of touch with what the world expected. My own secret life. Being different.
Tonight my daughter and I, tonight in real life that is, we take our dog on a long walk, a mile there and back to Canyon Court where our littlest kitty, Herbert Pocket, seemed to have stranded herself on an earlier walk. We have up to three cats at a time go on long walks with us, trailing us silently and racing through dark yards and up birch trees then back down. Earlier today Herbert Pocket had accompanied Phoenix into the small forest, back out – but not all the way back home. This evening, my daughter and I were unsure if we’d find her, or if she’d already made her way back to our neighborhood. I try not to worry, because what good would that do?
Sure enough, at the precise household Phoenix remembered seeing her hours before, our kitty’s sleek little body – black with dainty white mittens and long white “socks” on her back legs – joins us silently, trotting alongside. We’re as thrilled as you can imagine us to be. Tonight’s other walker, Harris – our oldest, age nine, is along for the trip as well. A half mile from home, though, he starts to flop in the road. Figuring he’s tired, I laughingly pick him up. He lets me carry him half a block then, with no apparent tension in his body or display of tooth or claw, a horrible deep growl wells up in his body. Figuring he might be serious, I set him back again on the cool concrete and he continues on with us.
It is cold out; my daughter is in the lovely down coat my sister bought her, for Christmas. And my daughter wears the warm alpaca hat I bought my husband – another Christmas gift, but many Christmases ago.
My body is tired. I’ve been cold all day; drinking a gallon and a half of water, perhaps that is why. Today my paid work was provincial and satisfying; the situation in the department has sorted itself out miles better than when I first started, half a year ago. I am able to do my duties well and not rush through clerical detail. My husband was home with the kids, and he spent the day cooking a curry – sweet potato, peas, and cauliflower fragrant with coconut milk, ginger, and garlic – and painted a table and scrubbed the floor. The kids spent the day playing; Phoenix is on a welcome break from school. She is drawing and playing Minecraft. Nels is doing the same – until the neighborhood boys are released from school, or homework or whatever, and mill around in our driveway waiting for Nels to enrich their play. Then we don’t see Nels again, just glimpses through our windows, until the boys have gone back to their homes.
Spring is feeling good.