Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Cottage, May 2009

It is strange to be back in the house we came home to with our firstborn.  In the lemon yellow room where I nursed her in a blue rocking chair, she and her sister glory in jumping on the bed, something they are not allowed to do at home.  She is almost five and remembers almost nothing about her life in this place.  I do, though.  This is the tub she bathed in every night; there is the lilac bush we transplanted; there is the kitchen drawer where she learned to pull herself up; there is the lawn I used to chase her in, catching her and throwing her up in the air when I was newly-pregnant with her sister, late April or early May, three years ago.

We are here on another spring day, bringing loads of towels and forks and mattresses.  We've decided to use the house this summer, this four-years-on-the-market house that sits, empty and forgotten.  We fill it up again:  sand toys, frozen waffles, laundry detergent.  We put mattresses down on the floor, set four cups on a shelf in the kitchen.  Then, we play.

We walk to the beach so they can climb the monkey bars and feel the sand between their toes.  We get treats at the bakery, walk through town and notice what has changed.  My favorite boutique is gone.  Our favorite place for lunch is busy.  We eat there, and the waitress remembers us.

Later, after dinner, after ice cream at Sherman's, we go back to the beach as the sun falls in the sky.  The wind has died down.  We are the only people on the whole expanse of North Beach.  We run through the rippled sand, roll up our pants, feel the water, and run back out, screaming.  We chase the seagulls.  We go down the slide.  I notice their footprints, side by side, small, in a long line towards the water.  

After they go to bed, I go running.  I stop, sit on a bench to watch the sunset, thank God for this day.  When I get back, Jason is playing guitar.  We stay up late, sit on the lone couch to split a pizza and drink beer, nothing to do but talk, to wish out loud for the new memories we'll make in this old house.

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