Hazel

 The hardest part about filling this space every week (more or less) is settling upon a topic.  As by now must be abundantly clear, my peculiar combination of a short attention span and compulsive ideation make for a very cluttered radar screen.  Lots and lots of targets.

  Not this week though.  Wife is gone.  For a month.  Woe is me.

  Son Andrew is around for a fortnight or so which is certainly wonderful.  We don’t waste much time cleaning the house or sorting laundry or making beds and often urinate off of the deck in between flippin’ the burgers.  Dude, pass the remote…

  But when it comes time to retire to the couch in our bedroom at the end of the day, to read the paper and watch the news a bit before turning in, I miss her.  If there’s a center to our universe, that’s it. 

  There commenced the series of events leading to the arrival of three new souls onto this planet.  It’s there that we’d recapitulate teacher conferences and discuss what we’d learned.  There we’d think about the coming summer and whether it’d be travel by canoe or backpack.  Or just what plan to hatch the next weekend.

  But more than anything, sitting there during the last moments of each day we re-synch our gears.  Every day for thirty-one years.  Thirty-one years today!

  We met in kindergarten, but my first vivid memory is from the sixth grade.  We were studying South America in Mrs. Patterson’s class and Sally volunteered that there was good skiing in Chile.  How she knew I don’t know, but I was impressed.  I asked her out to Fun Night, but she’d been invited to a sleepover at a friend’s house.

  The friend lived next to my grandmother so I invited myself over and was obnoxious.  I ignited a flare I’d found by some railroad tracks and dripped molten magnesium all over her sleeping bag.  Not good.

  Later, during an early ‘70s spring break we were sitting on a beach watching a sunset when she turned away and asked what color her eyes were.  I’d already known her for many years, but didn’t get the answer right.  Worse.

  My excuse for these and innumerable other inexcusables is that from the beginning I’ve been spellbound by not so much the physical package (incredible though it may be) but her sparkle, her verve, her zest for life.  And all of that has only grown richer.  I very lucky boy.

  Some believe that a pair can traverse many lifetimes together. You live a life, die, are reborn, and find each other all over again.  Time comes I’ll never stop looking.  But I figure if I work hard enough at noticing stuff now maybe I won’t have to wait till kindergarten next time.

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