“They still smell pretty good but I don’t think I am going to keep all of these,” she says.
7:30am on a Sunday morning that calls those without rain boots back into their bed sheets.
My eyes have barely unlocked their doors to open shop for the day and already my mother is spreading dead roses across the coffee table.
The decrepit petals are crumbled, like leaves I’ve crushed in walking through the folds of a fall day.
Five crinkled corsages wilt on the table. Giving testimony to proms. Daddy daughter dances. Homecomings & Balls.
Testimony to the first times in a girl’s life where she felt radiant. Like the only one.
And, if just for a moment that pokes its head from the day, I can feel the silk hanging off my hips again, the bobby pins tucked at angles into my heat roasted, curled hair, as he slips the little ditty onto my wrist and rests his hand on the small of my bare back.
And you know his mother picked the corsage out, pulled a twenty from inside her wallet and told him to go pick it up at the florist. “You’ll be slipping that corsage onto her wrist at five and the pink had better match the beading.”
And she played the role of any mother, teaching her son to be diligent with the moments at hand. To set them perfectly in time, as perfect as we can possibly make them at least.
And, if she had known the way time would unfold us in the next few years, like linens from the top drawer, she probably would have sat us down to give lessons on holding tighter and loving more. On simply enjoying the company of a person who knows your favorite color and all the backstories of your missing teeth while you have them around. While you can still captivate their attention. And to ask for nothing more in those moments.
Do we welcome these moments into daily life often enough? The ones of perfect simplicity and elegance? Where nothing gets questioned because suddenly there’s so much goodness in a single stitch of time, enough to make us believe that we’ll never need another answer again.
To get us thinking that we’ve found the answer. In a pair of eyes. In a head resting on a chest. In lifting a child up in the air, her feet propelling towards the solar system.
I know these Perfect Moments are strung like Christmas lights somewhere in my soul but I would be lying if I didn’t say it sometimes takes pushing boxes aside and tying back curtains to see their shine.
Time. When, oh, when will I ever nail you down and get you right?
You would rather have us dec flowers on ours wrist & glitter in our hair, sand between our toes & fingers in the spaces of other hands, than to ever drape you with the Cotton of Complication.
You beg to see us spend all of you on Playing & Laughing. Kissing & Jumping. Indulging & Thanking. Yet, you already know that we will waste you away. Don’t you?
We’ll waste so, so, so, so many precious pearls of opportunity turning a House of Cards Problem into a Grand Ol’ Glass Castle of Disaster. We’ll tarnish a moment to bring up drama. We’ll break the silence to start a fight. We’ll get hurt by another who promised never to hurt us and we’ll lash back. Smashing into pieces the secrets we kept safe for them.
Perhaps that’s why we keep the corsages, six or seven years after they’ve been slipped off the wrist. Maybe it’s why we keep all the memory boxes and old love letters, even when the endings weren’t so happy.
To keep a perfect moment preserved. To keep goodness at the forefront. To shush the “what went wrong” and “how things could have turned out.” To shush the whole “ION” Club: First the President, ConfusION, then the VP, DelusION, next the treasurer, FrustratION, and lastly the secretary, ConclusION.
We’ll look back at the end of all this and we’ll only hope to recall the best of this run that we got. This short run called a Life.
Not the fights. Not the tears. Not the leaving. Not the going.
But the Best Moments.
Where he saw you and you saw him quite perfectly.
Where it all fit together.
Where we asked no questions, we just danced in answers.
Where we whispered into the ears’ of one another, capturing the moment with a five-syllable sentence, “You are my best one. You are my best one.”