Six in. My heart is now at peace.
Six out. She stops to push her breath out, to connect her body to her mind, anchoring herself to the present moment. No past. No future. Just now.
"Faster, mama. Faster." He's three. When will he know? She feels guilty for not preparing him for the risks she consented to on his behalf. She feels guilty for giving him a body that needs surgery.
They hear the squawk of seagulls flying toward the lake. They watch a shower-like sprinkler go on and off, on and off, every five minutes to the horror and joy of the children. Each time the sprinkler goes off, the water pours over the heads of those brave few and she and her son laugh. Each child shocked, surprised at the water's intensity.
"Do you want to go in? I brought your bathing suit."
"Just watch, mama." He twists himself around to face her. "They don't know when it's coming." The sprinkler comes on and he laughs, claps his hands. "Swing more mama. Swing more."
She looks around her son to the choppy waters of Lake Michigan. She sees the individual waves, whitecaps wash over and over each other. Each one its own entity, coming up out of the water and then washing right back into it. For a while, she watches them come and go, come and go. She feels an incredible sadness every time a wave hits the shore or splashes against the pier.
No birth? No death? Her son's birth was such a happy memory. A blue-green day in early spring. She knows if she looks up, away from the waves, she will see the whole lake. Those waves are only water, after all. She remembers that first tug of her son's lips on her nipples, the let down of her first milk, and the end of breastfeeding. The pain that came with breasts stuffed rock hard with milk no child would drink. She can't help but look at those waves, stare at them obsessively. They are small, nothing compared to what the ocean might produce, but they are enough for her. She watches the wind seduce the lake into one frothy wave after another. She thinks she sees one begin to rise way back, and float forward. She hopes it will break past the pier, past the beach even, and closer to her--washing over her, maybe?