The In-Between


Spring is a struggle. Every year, no matter what. The wan light strains. Pollen induces anxiety. Last year, I remember writing, “I resent the forsythia.” And I do, those poor brave blooms daring to dot the bare landscape bright yellow. There is the feeling of almost there, almost there. All the while, March drags. April chafes. May teases. At last, the light is becoming warm and round. Day stretches past evening. I can forgive the fragrant lilacs. I almost love the weeping cherry.

I hover in the in-between, and I keep meaning to write about it here. Time evaporates, but also I’ve wasted precious evening hours watching Call the Midwife and Home Fires and The Voice. It’s an escape from the discomfort of transition. I rush off to work, and later I rush home and pretend as if I was never gone, and my daughter says, “I missed you,” and in the early mornings she tries to nurse. These are not big hurts, just the little aches of motherhood. Still, they tug and nag.

I try to remember this is just a short moment on the way to somewhere else. Almost there. But where is there? In the dreamy distance, I have it so together. I finally write a whole book. I have a job I love. I’m thinner and better dressed with new, well-fitting bras and fashionable glasses. I run 6 miles every day. My hair looks good even when its messy. I haven’t aged. In fact, I radiate such contentment, I almost look younger. There are hours with my daughter, my attention undivided, my mind undistracted. Time is elastic. I forget what anxiety feels like. My shoulders relax. I stop grinding my teeth in my sleep. My husband and I go to concerts and restaurants–a weekend getaway? There’s always enough time for a family walk in the evening, cool sand and pink skies, our happy silhouettes racing toward the water.

Maybe I’m closer to some of those things than I think. A new bra seems attainable. I have a short CNF piece, If I Could Shoot the Moon, published in this month’s issue of Pithead Chapel. Tonight on the beach, my silhouette didn’t race but ambled, fussy toddler hefted onto my hip. My best friend walked beside me while her son marched ahead, dragging a piece of driftwood across the sand. There are so many versions of happy. The sun broke through the cloud cover. A pair of mallards kept company. Piping plovers flitted over the mud flats. All of us on our way to somewhere else.