Right before I open my eyes but before I am all the way awake
Right before I open my eyes but before I am all the way awake I can be whomever I want. I can pick a time in life and pretend that when I open my eyes I will be 14 years and 273 days and getting ready to go to 8th grade. I haven’t yet met my big time boyfriend but will soon enough. I have finally cut off my dyed black rat tail and it was really time. I feel not quiet so fat and have discovered NOT eating as a way to perfect happiness. I am beginning to see the attention it gets and feel slightly womanly in my awkward and imperfect body.
Or I can be 20 years and 322 days and wake up in Key West. Warm air, swimming pool waiting for me, 3 small kids under 5 years who adore me and follow me.I can get up and help the boys to school. Then make pancakes for the baby and go for a walk with the dog. I can watch the dog bark at her dog-friends houses beckoning them to come over for a playdate. One finally comes out and follows us home to swim in the key and bark at us as we jump in the pool, the sun brutal on our faces reflecting a light so bright I have to squint to see. The baby and I can sit quietly in the shallow end and watch as all the tiny birds come to the watery ledge to shake rattle and roll the dirt of the day off their feathery bodies and I can teach her the first sentence, the one that will begin it and she whispers to me, “See da bird, see it?”. She spies it for me, a treasure she has found and shared. Her laughter at the dance scares off our new friend and she flies far, far away to some palm tree and make plans for her breakfast.
Or I can be 25 years and 148 days and wake up on my futon, small odd black cat asleep on my head. My hair has a small amount of cat drool on it and while I am repulsed I am also flattered she loves me so much. I turn and I get a lick on the eyebrow. I love that she wants to groom me.I wonder who is the baby in this relationship. I get up, find coffee and make plans to go to the ponds. Its our day off but the boys are still sleeping. My boy gets up and we go to breakfast while the other sleeps off whatever he did the night before. Its lovely and around lunch time we head out and the clear blue Cape sky is cloudless and open as we truck our floats, towels and bag of cherries to eat. Our floats are impressive and its always better when some sucker is stuck on the shore as we push off, laughing at our own private jokes, inside knowingnesses and secrets that are only important to us and they stare at us wondering why they didn’t think of that. The floats. You can close your eyes and the warm sun and cool fresh water are home to dragonflyes that land on your leg and have sex. You see, male dragonflies must stay inside a female or their sperm can get scooped out and another male can have his way with her. So they stay stuck together in some sort of mutual bondage of understanding that this is the way it must be if they are to survive. I get stuck in the reeds and my other boy floats over and chivalrously pulls me out, hooking his tanned foot under my float and paddles me back out to the middle so I can drift off again letting the wind push me into another cove. We talk of important things, make grand plans that slip away because they are not tended to. I can find the diving platform and stand and stretch my young body that I do not appreciate and reach backwards, jumping into the air and diving. Feeling the rush of cold water, pulling against my skin I can curve around and reach the top and breath again. No one is so lucky, so full of promise as I am on that day.
Or I can be 29 years, 364 days old and one day away from bringing my new baby boy home. He seems so big in his actual clothes but in reality he is only one pound bigger. He nurses and is perfect and cute and blond and small. His tiny hands curve around my back and his other fist is tight against his face as he cheek presses up against my breast. Although I thought I could never be a mother because I knew I would really just fuck it up, this tiny small man, whom I have made out of thin air makes me feel I can do it and its okay if I don’t do it perfectly. We will do it all together.
But then I open my eyes, alone in the warm bed, and hear my two children shouting at their father about not liking their pants and NO they are not too sick to go to school. Whats for breakfast? Can I have tea? Where are my shoes? I get up and am 37 years and 246 days.