Sharon Frame Gay
She rides in the battered truck in front of me. A shaft of light from the window sets her chestnut hair ablaze. She throws her head back and laughs, and I think to myself, "I have raised a happy child."
On a sultry summer afternoon in a city hospital, I hear her down the tiled floors in the nursery, crying out in despair as her soul recognizes earth. She is bound in a bundle of blankets, fists held tight against her body, as though to keep from flying out the window and back to the universe before she forgets her way.
For the moment, she is mine. To savor and guide, teach and be taught. This snapshot in time, our legend, only a breath away from ragged endings and soft beginnings.
I brought her home like an offering – a small appendage to be raised up to a lifetime of comings and goings, tears and laughter, bright days and solemn nights.
Born to a marriage that was dying, her hand in mine while she slept, both of us children set loose in a turbulent world. I feel the downy curve of her cheek, the storms of her temper as they batter me, the contagion of laughter and the ache of pride as I look upon her, the greatest thing I have ever created.
The days sweep by in a halcyon waltz of memories, stepping together then apart, a swirl of puppy feet and gangly legs, through autumn mornings, wedding gowns and picture frames, now capturing a new soul she adds to our opus. Sometimes we chafe at each other, the yoke too familiar, cutting off our air supply. Other times, we reach out and entwine, auras dancing to the moon and back. We take handfuls of each other, pressing our noses into the scent of our spirits, and setting them between the pages of the years.
Viscerally, I feel her soul, separated from cord, but tugging deep inside my womb, always connected, and forever aware that she is somewhere in this world. Again and again, like a homing pigeon, I raise my head and sense her presence on this planet, then go about my day.
Sometimes I see her coming towards me and catch my breath, as I look into a mirror and see only myself staring back. At other times I am wary, noting her separateness, not wanting to invade her space, or hold on too tight. Feeling almost shy, reverent, I reach out to touch her, if only the side of her shoulder or the passing of a fingertip.
I want to give birth to her again, and then her to me, over and over, as we tumble through eternity together.