You came home from work early today you said you’d get the kids from their playdate. “You go write,” you told me.
And maybe it was because I was already in the car, ready to pick them up. Or maybe it was seeing you walk down the sidewalk, your shirt sleeves rolled up and the bag I gave you for Father’s Day years ago slung across your chest, but I thought it’d be fun to go and get the kids together. To drive for a few minutes just the two of us; a few moments we didn’t know we had.
Sort of like that day when the snow fell so hard in South Bend on Saturday morning. Remember? You and I, we couldn’t get our boots and mittens and goodness, did we put ski pants on too? We scrambled to get all them on so we could go out and walk around the snow in South Bend. Like kids.
Do you remember what we talked about? I remember we had donuts at Macris, and we laughed at the painting on the wall, like we always did. ”It’s so fake,” we’d say, and “who would believe we are really in some Italian alleyway drinking espresso on a sunny day?” But we stared at the painting and I remember it did seem like maybe I could step into it with my snowy boots.
And was that the Saturday we walked along the East Race, to where it meets the St. Joseph River just before the dam? And did we stop to look at the fish ladder? I’m sure we did. I was always wondering about the fish that had to jump up the rungs and swim upstream. I rooted for them. I was proud of them.
We continued to the library that day, didn’t we? You told me not to look at the Newberry’s this time. “No teaching work today,” I think is what you said. You showed me where to find the writing books, the sort with writing prompts in them because you knew I liked exercises. You showed me the stacks of magazines that I could check out too, and was I laughing then at the huge stack of “how to write” books and fashion magazines I was holding?
And on our way home did we stop at the South Bend Chocolate Factory? Was that the day we got chocolate covered almonds that were blue and green? Or were they yellow, blue, and green? I get the colors confused with that other university’s colors, (though I’ll try and keep them straight this Saturday).
When we walked outside again, was that the day we heard Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” from a car on South Michigan? “I like that,” I said and you told me we own that album. “We have to play it when we get home,” I said.
And that’s what we did on that snowy day, remember? You put Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Herbie Hancock on mix in the stereo and I flipped through magazines, wrote down a few words, and guessed whether it was Miles, or Coltrane or Herbie coming out of the stereo’s speakers. Kind of like a John Mayer song.
I don’t remember all the details, but I remember the crunch of the snow, the rush of the East Race, the lap of the river, the crinkly pages and the smell of the books, and the music. I remember we weren’t planning on any of it, and I know you came home early today so I could write but I thought we could pick up the kids and not have any plans again today.