Every Bright Patch of Green
She didn’t make it to church on Mother’s Day because of the radiation. It exhausts the body.
But on the third day of my visit, she felt up for a drive. We took the route that takes us past all the vineyards and we enraged commuters by pulling off the road every five minutes to take pictures of wildflowers. She loves adventure.
My brother drove home this weekend to take us to the ocean, but he almost hit a deer on the way – swerved and dragged his car through the mud, crunching the underbelly. So instead of a day at the beach, we drove up and down the Silverado Trail, looking for his missing bumper. We didn’t find it. Instead, we ended up at a little Mexican market in Rutherford with the best carnitas. The three of us ate from Styrofoam to-go boxes on a park bench and talked about celebrity chefs.
On the drive home, my mom reminded Joel: “You’re supposed to be at least four car distances behind the person in front of you” and, “you need to make an eye appointment on your next day off.” We joked about how the mothering never ends. She agreed and promised never to stop, then leaned over to touch Joel’s long hair and said, “it really is beautiful.”
I’m just here for a few more days. From my old bedroom, I can hear her sing-song voice through the wall, the one she reserves for the cat, Elliot. She’s giving him water from the faucet because “he only drinks fresh, running water” and telling him how ornery he is. Sometimes I get confused about what matters. I look at accomplishment or publication as significant, when what I’ll remember ten years from now is not the email I got from some literary journal but the sound of the faucet and my mother’s voice. How we stopped at every bright patch of green to get out of the car and capture it.
Cover image by Luigi Manga.
Originally published on October 23rd, 2018.