You know how it goes: you’re attending to everyday matters—readying yourself for work, shooing kids off to school, or planning the week’s dinner menus—and suddenly something pulls you away from the moment’s task to another time, a different you even, pulls you into a space you can’t resist inhabiting, and you have to pause and marvel. Such was the source of this piece for me, dear readers.
There’s something in those little packets of candy corn, in the waxy white-capped arrowhead of sugar that dissolves like childhood on my tongue in the back seat of an old Plymouth on its way home,
something about childhood dreams being interrupted by the sounds of sobbing, pleas for death, pleas for life, parents crying together in the night when no one was listening except me,
Something about silken pajamas sent to me from Japan, and my paralyzed limbs being unable to carry me to Johnny’s seventh birthday party, my father trekking through snowdrifts to deliver me there,
something about seeing Johnny’s beard fifteen years later, his mother’s pride as she visited her dead son, his father’s troubling anger at the drunk driver who killed him,
something about sleeping sickness that made my mother tuck me in beneath resentment mid-day, while Johnny and the rest played in the pool and rode bikes laughing,
Something about my kindergarten class’s construction paper cards coaxing me back to wellness, especially the one from Larry Lux which I cherished like a ghoulish wound three years past his passing, his mother and my mother meeting at Wednesday evening Novenas to mingle prayers like ascending smoke,
something about paralysis and material existence, melting away, like candy corn, sweet glow upon my lips, syrup upon my tongue, without substance or permanence.
Something about the sunlight and warmth of what survives, beyond time and memory, beyond loss and sorrow, beyond childhood.