Monday, June 16, 2008

Summertime Rules

During the summers my giant child goes to live in Oakland with his Dad. They're both on summer vacation. I get to stay here and live like my first ex-husband.

Life calms down considerably. I don't have to share the computer. I can walk around naked in my living room. I can make what I want for meals and eat -- or not -- when I please. There's no arguments about what music to listen to, no cereal box with three Cheerios in the bottom put back in the cupboard, no hovering presence absorbing my phone calls, no waiting for the bathroom. And it's quiet. Luxuriantly, blissfully quiet. Hear yourself think quiet. The rest of the year is taken up in the racket and bustle of hamster-wheel existence, of forgotten homework assignments, permission slips produced at the last possible second, the Russian circus of getting him the places he needs to be the time he needs to be there, the endless round of the Next Size Up. And where does all the food go?

Summer is when I get to play by my own rules. This summer especially, my life is my own. Last year I was hiding out from the Second Mr. Right. I can go out at night. Every night, if the mood struck me. Such an odd concept. Probably seems perfectly mundane to you. There's a full moon tonight, or almost. I could go up into the hills and see them awash in moonlight bright enough to read by. See them how those first guys who walked out here from Virginia saw them, thinking their treasure was here. Feel the wind and smell the grass. This place -- the beauty of it can break your heart.

Thursday there's a Dixieland band playing at Armando's. I've never been. It's time I went. Music and people and beer and fun. Live drums tickling my feet through the floor and my shoes. Live trumpet ringing in my head, vibrating every one of my parts. I could go down to the water and watch the ships. Or I could stay in and work on my reading pile, or watch wierd old movies, or just go to bed when I felt like instead of waiting for homework to be finished. I sleep in the living room. I could take a soak in my big old fashioned tub, marvelling at the elbow room therein. People who don't even like each other could shower together in there. Thinking about it gives me a naughty thrill of environmental responsibility.

I'll miss him, my awkward funny darling boy. My pet giraffe, all elbows and knees and ears and feet, booming, authoritative voice issuing from a coltish, uncertain, treacherous body. Always taking up more space than he thought he needed. Usually on the wrong end of the joke. Not really caring about it. His loopy demeanor hides a fierce intelligence. It's easy to think he doesn't pay any attention to the world outside his peculiar passions, until he shocks me to my core with with an observation about me that goes right to the bone, tossed off as an afterthought or non sequitor, and I remember we once shared the same heart. I will miss him terribly, as I always do every summer.

Just not yet.