In Anticipation of Leaving My Children

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Anxiety sneaks in on little rat wings, scuttles and flurries of the what ifs as I approach seven whole days without them. I imagine the earth quaking, riding a giant wave across housing developments, stucco and concrete, mini-malls where packages of Japanese udon and Vietnamese fish paste get tossed like detritus, fly into hungry mouths.

We all mix together, hombres on the corner selling bags of oranges, tiny women tending the nail shop, the movie man in the Mercedes, rolling and cresting over that wide and shiny city, that gritty and deranged  barrio, those seasons that meld and mesh with a sameness that is sunshine sprinkled with a century of drought and doughnut shops. 

Here, we are safe. The snow is bad enough, the avalanche tears into our neighborhood and miracles abound. That’s what I’m talking about. The pain of real seasons. The challenge of the day to day exempts us from the wanderlust of the earth at her core, her need to finally release because where I come from, where I’m going, no one is spared.

Plates are pushing, pushing, waiting, waiting, lean in, hold on and it starts with windows, windows rattle, find a doorway, find a table, cover your neck, no your head, no your neck, always have a plan. Keep bottles of water in the trunk, keep an extra blanket in the backseat. Call your children often. Think of them with the snow’s soft thaw, coats, downy and warm, the way they pull their hats over their ears, their mismatched socks. The deer watches wide-eyed in the yard as they pull away on their bikes, shout, “Watch me now!”

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