I overhear a young couple (think beard + plaid + almond mylk latte) discussing how weekends are for “catching up”.
I think, Once upon a time, the weekends were for catch-up. You know, making a dent in the stack of New Yorkers on the bedside table, clearing out inboxes be it the one upon the desk or the one within the computer’s mail program.
Now, “catch-up” is the red sauce splattering on white jeans as my son sails a french-fried potato into my lap.
Now, “catch-up” is the action I turn into, running after my boy who heads into four lanes of city traffic while envisioning his slim limbs dismembered into a living nightmare,
a brand new unwelcome world where we do not eat almond butter and strawberry sandwiches ever again
since that is what we had for lunch
nor any other foods we enjoyed on
The Day of His Untimely Demise,
but especially his favorite sandwich.
The almond butter. Creamy.
The jam, preserves of strawberries hidden inside native sweetness.
Never again that sandwich.
Never again his native sweetness.
Never again hibiscus cooler kombucha, my drink two hours prior to his, no my, no our imagined death. I imagine his death. He comes so close.
I am the sound of the whale who loses her calf as he continues pedaling over
yellow bumps demarcating the intersection, only inches away from a whirling blur of automobiles. Automobiles.
I remember a bright blue Ford Fiesta. This was no party.
I remember screaming. I remember cars motoring too loudly to remember exactly what.
I know what I didn’t scream about. I didn’t scream what I wanted, a soliloquy highlighting the probability of a driver distracted by a ping or ding or a swoosh of a text, an Instant Message, a Notification,
losing sight of the road, our road, the road upon which son rides bike.
The importance of “Where to Meet for Brunch” becomes my biggest problem.
In an instant.
The finale. The act when car barrels into boy.
I didn’t scream that.
but the content was in my scream.
Was the content in my scream?
Assuring unabashed attention to myself, I am the wild-eyed visor and helmet wearing mom, the one the Asian pedestrian methodically turns around to watch,
wild, wilder still
screaming, shaking, delirious,
Did I see him smile? Astonished? Shocked? Amused? Another mother blowing it out of proportion. At the corner of Fulton and Park Presidio there is only one proportion.
I’ve been saying it.
I’ve been saying since we moved up here,
I’ve been telling my husband about the feeling of something going terribly wrong,
horribly, terribly wrong.
But not today. Not in San Francisco.
By telling myself not today,
I fool myself into thinking I could ever be ready.
Yes, Didion, when we talk about mortality, we talk about our children.
I think about lattes and baristas and organic food and how casual conversations avoid the temporality of any single instance.
I think about how weekends used to be. I think about when mortality was off the table, when we freely left it for others’ contemplation.
I think about their question: are the weekends for catching-up?
And I know exactly what this means.