Pictures to keep
June 26, 2017
A few weeks ago Raphael asked me if I remembered what hand he smashed in the window when he was 3. I puzzled over it, closed my eyes and tried to picture the scene, dithered for a while, then said "OH, I know! It's on the blog!" And indeed, it was.
We looked it up, which took way more time than it should have. It ended up with us meandering through old posts, mainly the ones about him. We laughed, a lot. He finally found out why Mir always says "Ah gonna DIE!" when talking about him. It was like taking an afternoon trip back to when the boys were little and I traveled in the midst of a cloud of them, their words, their adventures, their ridiculousness.
I enjoyed the pictures of them, of course, but back in 2003, there weren't that many pictures. But all the way through there were word pictures that brought those boys back so vividly that I could almost smell the grubby puppy scent of their sweaty heads.
It made me think about Sophia, and how I've missed writing down a lot of her childhood so far. All those pictures that are gone already, like they were left behind on some picnic bench, to get caught in the wind and dotted with rain.
So here are a few word pictures of my own girl.
The other day we went for a walk. I took Tchai (our ridiculous dog) and she took her scooter. She was excited to get to the big hill, a steep swoop of blacktop that takes her breath away with its dangerous, flying joy. The sun was easing down toward the horizon, and the light turned golden. She sailed away ahead of me, hair flying out under her pink helmet with the ears (wolf, not kitten ears. Don't call them kitten ears). We were almost to the big hill when she glanced over her shoulder to check on me. That glance caused a wobble, and in a moment too quick to see, she went from flying to curled up in a ball on the blacktop, cradling her elbow, and gasping in the air that was about to be a wail.
Tchai and I ran to her, and by the time we arrived her elbow was bright with blood. It was an impressive scrape, spiraling around her arm from wrist to elbow. Her palm stung and her knee was tender, but the brunt of the fall was worn on her arm. I sat on the road and pulled her onto my lap and she leaned into me and cried spots onto my t-shirt.
When she was ready, I picked up her scooter and threw it over my shoulder, and we turned to walk home. After a few minutes, her crying died down, and she rubbed at her eyes with the back of her uninjured hand.
"That was an impressive fall," I told her.
"I guess. I think I looked back and that's why. I didn't even get to the big hill."
"Yeah. It seems like it's taking a long time to get home."
"Well, you were on your scooter before."
"Yeah. It's a lot faster that way." She fell silent, thinking. "HEY! I should put some of this blood on a slide! Do you think I could see something under the microscope?" She got a microscope for Christmas.
"I think that's a great idea. That's thinking like a scientist."
"YES." Our house was in sight now, and she looked at it, then at me. "Why don't I run ahead? So the blood doesn't dry up before I get there?"
"Good plan," I told her, and then she was gone. I walked along, with my ridiculous dog trotting beside me and my daughter's scooter swinging from my shoulder with the rhythm of my steps. The gold of the light deepened, and the moment hung suspended.
I decided to keep the picture. And so I did.