****************I remember this, this slip of synchronized metal between my fingers, from hand to hand, one big enough to flop-glide down the stairs in the old house. Inevitably tangling, and I would spend so much time trying to untangle it, make it perfect and smooth again. The twisted wires were permanently scarred they remembered each fall and gyration, and forevermore had unsteady hips. That old house was never finished and was born scarred. It’s funny that I call it the old house since technically it was really quite young, built the year before my sister was born, my mother laying stone for the fireplace while pregnant. Those warm stones were for children and cats, both not yet made. What an act of faith to build a home together, in truly the middle of nowhere. What the hell was she thinking? But she must have been thinking, the slinky of her brain tracing down all the steps without tangling. and what does twelve years from now mean? Twelve years from that fireplace we were all sitting around a cold empty pizza box, drinking cranberry juice and wondering what was next, leaving the old house. Her plan inevitably tangled, incredibly tangled. We are all, each of us, incredibly tangled. Our desire to flop-glide through life means nothing. We walk with unsteady hips, or lie curled and still. Slinkies extend and fall – that is where the tangling happens at the tipping point where the world collapses down on itself until I’m standing alone at the door on a warm day with a cup of hot coffee watching you leave. Just for a while, just for school, no comment on me or cats and children not yet made.
Since then my mother has laid down other stones, pregnant with a vision. Her garden falls gently to the brook, or grows up to the house. Either way there is less of a plan. Those steps are the ones we’ll use in September, guiding a cadre of unsteady hips and heads through a wedding. What a strange and novel idea. When was the last time we did one of those? The 70s.
I talked to my sister today about her wedding, my planned time off, the role she will want for me to play in that week. Going for long walks, keeping her calm, serving as the all important buffer zone between her and my mother. Helping everyone navigate tricky waters, hold the unsteady hearts close and help them slide-glide over steps. Your job will be to hold my own unsteady hips in the night.