Sipping my martini.
Mr. Moon shook 'em up and we usually always go sit on the front porch to visit, catch up with everything. You'd think that living together we wouldn't really need to do that but life is busy, you know. And even if you see someone every day you probably mostly talk about the things.
This person called. This was the news.
Drogo is fucking regularly.
I need to cut the grass.
I sold the Toyota today.
I found a tick on my tit.
Did you notice they moved out that trailer down the road?
We need chicken scratch.
Did you see the peppers I picked from the garden?
That's not what our Friday night martinis are about. They're about how we feel concerning all of these things. Or, at least some of them. We take our emotional temperatures, we always end up saying how lucky we are, that can you believe it? here we are and isn't it beautiful? Isn't it just fucking amazing?
"I told you it could be like this," he always says.
"I know," I always answer. "I almost believed you. But not really."
But tonight, like I said, he shook up the martinis and we toasted, as we always do and said, "Happy Birthday," which is also what we always do because years and years ago our friend, Red-Headed Rick would say that when he saw us at Bullwinkle's on Friday night at the beer garden where all of the old hippies congregated to drink and listen to music and see each other, and then I said, "If you want to go sit in your chair, I'm okay with that. I'm about done with talking for right now."
And he said, "That's fine with me. I'm here if you need me."
So there he is in his chair with his martini and here I am on the back porch with mine and he's probably watching hunting or fishing on the TV and playing poker on his phone and I'm writing this, the frogs singing to me, the air conditioner chugging away five feet away, the darkness falling. I guess tomorrow will be the longest day of the year, speaking strictly of daylight and it is after nine now and there is still a little light in the sky.
We took the boys down to the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab this afternoon and Gibson was delighted with the touch tanks but Owen couldn't really settle down to it.
We did love the tank with the Hawksbill sea turtle in it. I think it was a Hawksbill. The marine lab is a turtle rescue place and people bring them turtles with injuries and they rehabilitate them and then release them if possible.
I actually have a very long history with the Marine Lab. Thirty-nine years ago, when I figured out I was pregnant with Hank, my then-boyfriend and I lived in a house on the bay right next door to where the lab is now. We squatted there with a bunch of other hippies and the house was falling in and had no plumbing or electricity but seemingly endless rooms and at that point, the Gulf Specimens Marine Lab truly was simply a specimens marine lab and Jack Rudloe, the owner, collected specimens from the gulf to send to labs and universities all over the world. I did not know him then but can remember the sound of the engines pumping sea water into the tanks in which he kept his critters.
We moved away from Panacea but Jack and his wife Anne, a marine biologist and practitioner in Zen Buddhism, stayed and built the lab into something more. A place where people (and especially kids) could come and be educated in a gentle and non-directional way about the sea and its creatures. They raised their kids there and the kids now all work at the lab. Anne died in 2012 and if you want to read about a truly wonderful human being, google her.
Jack wrote some great books, two of which affected me profoundly. They were The Living Dock and Search For The Great Turtle Mother, which I read right after my friend Sue died when I was living for the summer on St. George Island and it gave me great comfort. I used to take Lily and Jessie to the Marine Lab every summer and I went there on at least one field trip with one of the kids.
But you know- it's impossible to impart any of this to a two-year old or a four-year old although I did tell Owen that I had lived right there a long time ago. And I loved watching that turtle swim around the tank and rise up when he or she got to where we were. I know she or he was only hoping for food, but still...
It was a Do Not Touch Tank but I told Owen that he could touch her back very gently and he did.
So that was good.
But we were so hot and tired and we drove home and got the boys' things all packed up and I heated up a frozen pizza so that I wouldn't deliver the boys to their parents starving and then we drove to town and met the bus and there were their parents and we took them back to their house and unloaded all of the clothes and toys and library books and and kissed the boys goodbye and told them thank-you for being such good boys and coming to stay with us and then Mr. Moon and I sat in the car alone and I said, "Bring on the drugs," which is an old joke and we drove home and here we are.
Neither one of us feeling the need to talk much, having had so many conversations in the last four days with a four-year-old and a two-year-old. Conversations which cracked us up, which made us almost cry with their sweetness, which mystified and frustrated us. Which sometimes bored us, which sometimes illuminated us, which we always paid attention to.
Which is why we really don't need to talk tonight.
In the midst of all of this today, my brother White was sending me pictures from the olden days. He sent me this one.
That's me and Glen, thirty years ago on July 28. We were at the Talquin Inn for my thirtieth birthday, which was one of the best birthdays of my life and I was opening the box holding my engagement ring.
Forgive me for my eighties perm.
I still have that necklace and damn, I wish I still had the dress.
Who knew? Not me.
He's there if I need him and our grandsons are back with their parents and Happy Birthday. It's Friday night and tomorrow I can get back to my books and my book but I tell you this- I am still going to be laughing, wondering, amazing at, missing those boys. A bug just landed on my laptop and I can imagine showing it to Owen and Gibson but Maurice is stalking it for me.
My entire goal for the weekend is to clean out my refrigerator. And to sleep as much as I want to and to read as much as I want to and to write as much as I want to, accompanied by this familiar.
I am tired, a good tired, an I-have-done-my-job sort of tired.
And I can't help but wonder how Owen and Gibson are sleeping tonight. They are my bones, my blood, my heart.
And yet, I am grandmother, not mother.
I wonder what my dreams will be like tonight.
Sleep well, y'all. And how many times have I said this? Well, for a human being, there is no sweeter wish.