I got a mild prescription for eye glasses about six years ago. They were supposed to help with reading and night driving. Sometimes I would use them when I spent a long time looking at a computer screen.
Because they only seemed to slightly enhance my vision, I never took to using them with much frequency. Over the course of the last year or two they’ve been left in a box, untouched.
Lately, my eyes have been stuck in boxes, moving between a multitude of spreadsheet cells for hours at a time. I dug into that abandoned box and dusted off my handy glasses, thinking I’d be doing my eyes a favor.
Funny thing is, nothing was clear when I put them on. Everything was actually more blurred.
The Bohemian’s a man of few words, but this is one of the truisms known to pass from his lips. And true enough, it is.
Case in point, last night, when I guess things could have gone a multitude of ways, all depending on the timing of seconds.
It was just the Bohemian and I, driving back from a birthday dinner. A friend had gifted us a little one-on-one time by taking Jeb for the evening. Our stomachs were pleasantly filled (yes, I got the green tea ice cream cake), and the Bohemian was driving us through the dark, along our winding, country road.
I was playing DJ. Skipping around from song to song on the iTouch. Aretha Franklin, Susan Tedeschi, English Beat, and Bonnie Riatt. The Bohemian didn’t seem to mind that I was singing along to all the words (even mumbling through the ones I didn’t know). He just drove along, bobbing his head, snapping his fingers on occasion, and smiling.
We were almost home. The crescendo horn solo of “I Confess” was sounding through the speakers. My eyes were looking down, scrolling for the next song option. Then suddenly, the Bohemian completely stops the car, “Whoa!”
I look up through the windshield to see nothing but a massive cloud of brown dust surrounding our vehicle. Instantly I realized that we were stopped at the section of curved road that hugs the mountain. Though the hillside is covered in trees and bush, its sheer face is often the first spot to landslide in a storm.
So there we were. My passenger side, feeling ever-so-vulnerable, as it was closest to the hill. The Bohemian, unable to see through the dust and uncertain as to what was in front of us, was hesitant to accelerate the car forward. A bolder could be crashing down on us at any moment, or we could run right into the one that was hiding in the dust on the road.
I’ll admit, my fear took over, and I pleaded, “go, go…”
Cautiously, the Bohemian moved through the shimmering cloud, illumined by our headlights. We felt nothing beneath our tires as we rolled forward, and slowly the dust dissipated as we passed into the clear air of the dark night, no rocks or debris in the road ahead.
I don’t know who was talking. Maybe both of us. My body was buzzing. We were less than half a mile from home.
It appears to have been a random, summertime landslide coming off that dusty hill. It seems we arrived at the scene merely seconds after the fall.
If we hadn’t paused at the hostess’s table to grab a toothpick, or if the Bohemian hadn’t slowed a few paces to let that Ford Fiesta pull out in front of us, might we have happened upon those rolling rocks a few seconds sooner? Been beneath the crumble?
We’ll never know. But what a punctuation to a 41st birthday. One leaving me with gratitude to be alive.
Time may really be just an illusion, but it’s what we’ve got to work with here in the third dimension. And if we’re playing this earthly game, well then, yes.
sound of crickets
an occasional insect
taps against the lamplit window
geckos laugh in the kitchen
coffee cools on the coaster
feet are bare
I feel like shedding this nightgown
today marks the passage
of circling the sun
spinning upon this earthen sphere
this body of cells
manifest as woman
I have breathed through these lungs
for four decades
trying to learn
last year Fabulous 40
was just off-center
I did not feel fabulous
41 needs no fanfare
no heavy expectations here
at a favorite restaurant
the table by the fountain
one friend, my husband, and my son
please no birthday songs
and a slice of green tea ice cream cake
well, that would be divine
today I’ll do a little bit of everything
keep trying to remember
all these years I’ve been practicing
this experience of humanness in 3D form
pen to paper
fingers to keys
keys in the ignition
lips pressed to a cup rim
hands rinsing under water at the sink
with all these trees
sharing air with ladybugs
hair moving in a breeze
I’ve been collecting
all of these moments
on the inside
where I can’t see
on the outside
shown as lines
freckles on my skin
all accumulated data
compiling to conclusions
and thus far
I think it best to rest