How could so much have squeezed itself into 50 odd years?
If only I could tell you how it is to have landed here now, where I’ve been. All the episodes, the characters, births, deaths, intimacies, intertwined lives. So many lives in such a short one.
I have a 30 Year old son, and a whole life before I met his father and a whole long marriage after that. And now I find myself at the wedding of my son’s peers and a whole pageant of my former lives weave them selves in and out of the 5 days of the wedding.
The mother of the bride and I are staying by the ocean with 4 other, now middle aged women, but we were all young together. Our children are music therapists, drug addicts, artists, fisher- men. Brilliant and close like we weren’t with our mothers. We remember them as babies when we used to bring them to dances at the Community Hall and pile them under the table, safe from stomping gumboots and barefoot nymphs, excavating them sometime before dawn into pickups and Volkswagen vans for the winding washboard drive home.
We’ve all had lovers in common and some of them are at the wedding. And we’re all single now except the most senior and least babish of us who has found a new love.
We sit under the cedars and talk, but can’t even begin to speak what we’ve lived and known of each other because, because…. If you unpicked just one thread at random, it would wrap itself three times around the planet and get lost along the way in some archipelago.
At the reception the play goes on, and passes are made, and unforgiveable blunders, and people we love and who have only just met offend one another, and exasperate us.
And we dance just like we always did, except now the band is made up of the children from the “pile” and they astound us. And Captain Joe does his get-down-let-loose-tarantella jig, and his wife is beside him bursting with love and amusement, as we all are because it’s been so long since he did that. And nobody goes to bed, and we drink champagne in the morning and the music goes on and we review the whole thing and laugh, and wonder if we’ll ever all be together again like this, because now someone is always depart- ing one way or another and you can’t count on it.
So the tableau freezes and hangs a moment in the air, and I breath.