During my senior year in high school, I had a small part in the school play, H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. My role was of the scandalous secretary who was presumably having an affair with her boss. I wore a tiny off the shoulder black dress and slung my waist-length hair around with a flick of my wrist while hinting to the more dutiful office employee about my clandestine relations. That was almost 30 years ago and the only flicking of the wrists I do now is after washing my hands in the kitchen sink when I’m too hurried to use a dishtowel.
Unlike my children’s lives, mine isn’t particularly well-documented so when I came across an old VCR tape of the school play, I thought it would be fun to transfer it to DVD. The decades-old recording had aged much like the cast of characters it chronicled. Faces were a blur and I had to rely on sound more than sight to distinguish fellow classmates. It’s odd to think back that far, at how young we were, how sure we were, and how unsure we were. Dizzy hopes for the future dangled like a cliffhanger in the drama of our own lives. One of the boys who had a leading role in the play passed away last year. His grainy silhouette was punctuated by the boom of his voice. His animated gestures and rhythmic inflections belied the premature hush that came upon his life. It made me sad. Read more
Summer feels thick right now – the heat, the ebb and flow of vacationers, and the realization that its end is looming like the swarm of mosquitos that emerge at dusk. I am kind of in a funk about it. Thinking there are only a few short weeks of summer left, I feel panic rise like the scorching mid-day heat. For three straight weeks, my family will be scattered in different places. The final weeks of summer stained with talk of orientation, school schedules, and college applications. Family time is back to being carved out like the mocking triangle eyes and jagged mouth of a pumpkin. I might as well get the Halloween decorations down from the attic.
When my husband asked me to go on the boat with him one weekday evening, I reluctantly agreed. I figured it would remind me that summer is still here, in the now. He likes to fish and I like to read. Off we went, him with his poles, and me with reading glasses, a stack of old newspapers, a half-read magazine, and book. (I figured if we were stranded the reading material would be a good diversion.) Within fifteen minutes, he caught three speckled trout. Each time, I put my newspaper down and took a picture of him with his scaly trophy. After comparing all three pictures I couldn’t tell a difference – same man, same fish.
The third fish he caught was the largest. He kept the other two so I was surprised when he threw this last one back. He said we had enough and then immediately cast his line again. Baffled, I didn’t understand why he bothered casting when he didn’t intend to keep any more fish. Putting down my paper, I looked up at the ease of the summer sky which was oblivious to my end-of-summer angst. I thought that maybe my husband is onto something. Maybe life isn’t about what we keep but moments that we catch — or even better moments that catch our breath. Read more