I watch a little girl crying as her mother peddles down the street on her rickety bike, loaded with parcels, hanging off each side like a bee heading back to the hive thighs packed with pollen. She has a baby in a plastic chair attached to the handlebars secured with a strip of cotton fabric. And she is noticeably pregnant. Her shiny black hair stirs as they bump over the uneven ground. The little girl tosses her head back and wails to the sky. Only once did I see the mother scold the child. She had seen me watching her, I smiled and blew them a kiss…maybe embarrassed her and she flung her arm back missing the girls face by a hair. The child growled. And I thought of your sister, the way she growls sometimes, wails, calls into the sky for help.
I wonder how shes managing without her step-mom to ground her, to pull her in close and assure her that everything will be okay. I imagine your daddy unable to do that. I imagine your daddy spinning in circles, looking for a center place to focus. I imagine you dropping to the floor and playing, pretending you are and animal in his nest, wondering if another hospital stay could mean that step-mom is dying, wondering if I will ever come home, from my vacation, singing a private song to soothe yourself, then lifting your arms and flying away out into the yard to perch in your roost in the loquat tree between Grandpas office and your house, scooting to the top and watching down the road for anyone to arrive. Anyone at all.
I didn’t come back when mommy got sick. I stayed with AJ in Brasil. Stayed with Grandpa. We agreed it was best to stay here, to walk the jungles, listen to the falls, look for birds and mammals and collect stories to tell you and Liza when we get back. Teach you new words, show you maps and offer you a fresh perspective, a peek into what happens in the big world while yours there from the top of that tree must feel pretty messed up. You must feel lonely. I hope not too worried.
I am sorry if I made the wrong decision. Maybe I should be home, taking care of you all. And I am not.
I will be home on Tuesday. Maybe you can miss school on Wednesday, stay home with me and we can listen to each others stories. You talk and I talk and both of us will open our hearts to your step-mom fighting her illness. We will find kindness for daddy as your daddy is confused, worried and lonely, too.
I wish for that little girl on the back of the bike, the baby and that peddling mommy that they have a place to fall softly and rest after their day. Maybe they have a grandma at home and she is that place. I love you, Gma