It wasn’t like this yesterday. I hear trucks outside and no child startles or runs for cover in me. This truck passes and the living room is still again. The puzzle pieces are impossibly lifeless. There is a vacuum where yesterday was begging for Caillou; there is no desperation pulling on the corners of my pajamas for “up, UP!” Everything is still half alive from breakfast, chairs askew, cups half empty, crumbs and milk splattered under the table. It wasn’t like this yesterday.
It’s Autumn, officially. I can tell because she whispers through the wall’s cracks and kisses my nose and fingertips. I go upstairs to get socks, for the first time in a season. I feel unknown and new in this familiar place. The air feels like apple picking and smells of chalk and pencil lead (or maybe that’s just my mind making sense with what I used to know). I make tea uninterrupted. I sit here until the kettle moves me. It wasn’t like this yesterday.
This is what I asked for, but I no longer understand calm, so I watch his last recording.
Everything is moving and hot. All around the kitchen cockadoodle doodle doo.
His hair swirls around his crown, sticky sweat around his ears. He sits, rocking from his core, bottom firmly on the carpet. The rest of him is a childish gyration. The late afternoon sun pounds through the white cotton curtains. The black fan on the white table doggedly pushes the same air in a circle. Everything is alive, in motion. Even the dust in the air takes up space and dances.
Make your arms into trees, now wave them in the breeze. He does, grinning, and glances back at me for approval. I hear my laughter, but it sounds like a mother’s laughter, not my own. Nostalgia comes, already.
It wasn’t like this yesterday.