Tonight cackles with the past. I walk through these rooms, this house, this shell and remember bathing you side by side in the pink bathtub, rumpling your hair with towels of stripes and frogs. Back then you slept at the other end of the house in beds under tents, the end where the fire broke out four years ago tonight. Such sweet little boys (of course you still are!), but you were only three then. I remember how you piled onto my lap to read a goodnight story, your hair soft and wet — your father on one side, me on another.
We love you if not each other.
I kiss you both goodnight and tell you how very proud I am of you, how independent you’ve both become. Sam, you see my face and say, “Does it make you sad too?” and I tell you that indeed it does, but that it’s happy-sad, a mix.
I realize, with a start, that this is it exactly. “Do you know how much Mommy loves you?” I say. [THIS big, as big as the universe…?] you answer with a question. “Even bigger,” I reply and you laugh.
Later I watch you sleep, your faces pressed into pillows, almost eight. I know it’s pointless to ask, but how did time creep up on us like this? The things this shell could share if sharing were possible. Here we are then, a family of three roaming rooms on our way to somewhere new. I am haunted by the memory of who you were, who I was. This shell, this shell that is no longer a home, has many secrets to tell but I’m no longer interested in the telling, just the moving on.
Of course in the moving on, there is the telling.