The day sparkles with freshness, made new by gusts of forceful wind that rustles silvery leaves without rest. The light is high overhead, the brightness of a wish just past. My heart has been aching since the morning, noticed in a moment of stillness when all I could feel was the pounding in my toes and the ache of my wrists and the extra pressure in the center of my chest. It stays in me, a continuing presence as long as I can maintain this quiet in my mind. The sacrifices are made, held tightly inside, and I look for my ring of keys.
The day is bright, the sun is high overhead, winking its rays through the glass of the car, through the tinted lens above my eyes, through the delicate membranes that are my windows to the world. The light is clear, I feel myself in the car, aware of each turn of the wheel, aware of the narrow road down the hill with five sharp turns. I move out beyond the dotted yellow line, there are no cars coming and I’m safe, but I feel the strength of the car, I feel the weight moving at thirty miles an hour, fast enough to smash the delicate connections between fiber and blood.
There are three stop signs before I get to Mission St and as I brake at each one, the sensation of fragility compounds. Maybe it’s the man wheeling around his trashcans to the curb, maybe the woman walking across the street talking into her cell phone, or the man sitting in his car at the red light beside me.
Something comes thorough me, coming in, moving out, twirling inside. I do not name the cause, I wouldn’t reveal the source, I can only recognize the moment.
Without the radio on, without yammering or melodies…the day seems brighter, harsh in its generous opening. It’s not the strength of a fight or the pounding of a bat, it’s more like the opening of a sun that has remained shrouded in petals, the glow is harsh, the reality is painful. My chest thumps with more pain than I usually a notice, a nice, dull, achy pain that sits well, a feeling I have begun to consider a long lost friend that I welcome with a smile.
“Oh, you’re back! It’s great to have you home!”
The skin surrounding me seems so temporary… I feel the forceful weight of the car, I feel the fragility of the moment like an egg shell rolling down the street. The mortality of the breath, the temporal nature of me.
The other day, she loudly laughed and then she said, “You don’t know when you’re going to die!”
“Oh yeah,” I thought… “I can’t count on eighty more years.”
One wrong move, now, and everything could be altered. I imagine myself in the hospital on a ventilator.
I hear his voice, “We might be able to be together after this, depending on how much progress we’ve made during this cycle.”
I scan the crosswalk carefully for walkers. I check the rear view mirror. Time is precious, the body is precious. The moment is precious and delicate and I feel it as though for the first time, in the brightness of a sun high overhead, in the freshness brought about by the wind and an aching heart.