Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Letter M

Multicolored: Rainbow yarn hair ties I had as a little girl. I loved them because they were so brilliant and daring, the way I wanted to be. My mother preferred plain pale pink, navy blue or white, but I wanted everything multicolored. Last year at my mother’s I found a multicolored bikini from my teenage years in a drawer in my old room.

Mark: The first boy I kissed playing spin-the-bottle in sixth grade. He had dark hair and blue eyes and I was already smitten. When he realized we had to kiss he took a look at me and said “Oh, snap! Braces!” but he still smiled and did it, a good sport.

Mad: The way I feel when my precious - though futile - sense of control feels like it is slipping away. Days when traffic is bad and the homework is not done and I can’t get to my own work and one more person asks me for one more thing and I fear I will snap. On these days I have fantasies of grabbing every dish out of every kitchen cupboard and smashing them all on the floor. I don’t do it, but the mere thought is exhilarating.

Michigan: Place of childhood summers, lakes smelling green, the iridescence of blue damselflies lighting so quickly on my arm as my uncle paddles the canoe. Water fights with my cousins with a garden hose on the brown lawn. Tornado warnings, when the light all around would turn a flat golden yellow, the air preternaturally still. Helping my aunt dry dishes at the sink while she hummed along with the radio. The sad fact that I don’t visit as much as I should since my father died.

Mud: I like the way it feels on my bare feet when I have given myself over to it - cool and smooth and messy. The beauty of childhood mud pies, when I completely believed they could be chocolate or cinnamon, when anything was possible.

Middle aged: What I don’t feel. At all. I feel like I have plenty of time to figure out what I want to be when I grow up because this is still just a warm-up. There is more. Feeling this in spite of having a good job, a great husband, and two children pushing adolescence.

Movies: Escapism. Magic. Going into another world for a time. The reasons I still like going to the theater to see them; the smell of popcorn, sitting in a cool, dark, cavernous room with strangers, sharing the experience, the emotions. Growing up with movies, steeped in them because my father was a film critic. How flipping TV channels on a rainy Saturday afternoon and seeing a familiar classic flick by – in silvery rich black and white - gives me a sense of the familiar, of comfort. I can’t resist sitting down to watch…

More: How wanting more is necessary, and makes me feel alive, awake, moving forward.