After the children leave

I come into their room to tidy up. The fragrance of their breath lingers, their dreams whisper in corners . Small hollows in the pillows remain, waiting for nestling heads. – I won’t change a thing. Not yet.

 

I walk through the August-bleached fields and shaded woods we explored together, and hear the echo of their high-pitched voices, tinged with wonder, asking about the horses, the trees, the tracks in the earth; Nico warning Gabriella about the “stinging mettles” and the brambles; Bernard cutting spears of bracken for them to fight off wild animals; both crawling into the gnarled cave of tree roots in the forest; seeing with them the (quote) “lovely” view from the top of Pitch Hill.

Driving through narrow roads with 10 foot banks on each side, under trees whose tips touch at the top, Nico says “tree tunnels are the best thing in his whole life”.

Gabriella’s tearful face after having her ears–pierced, replaced by smiles at the resulting pink studs in her ears. Gabriella hunched over her extraordinary drawings of snow men, horses, abstracts with bright colors, soaking up suggestions from me, her parents, other kids, and reproducing them, better than us, a little Paula Rego in the making.

Cuddles and stories in bed in the morning, making pancakes in the kitchen, exuberant laughter from the garden, these memories will linger for many weeks, until I go to see them again.

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