Two Planes and Twenty

I stood on my front porch this morning and watched two planes pass over each other. One slowly ascending and one descending. My hand held at arms’s distance marked them twenty degrees apart, the moment they passed under/over each other in the sky.

There was a moment last night, when I asked Taryn helping me in the kitchen after dinner, to go and ask the rest of the dinner guests if they wanted coffee, sending her from the kitchen.

A moment that could have been replicated from my own youth and my mother’s kitchen. My hands in a sink of dirty water wished to reach out and hold her, squeeze her shoulder, tell her, in another world you could have been my child. In another world, this could have been my life. In another life, this is how I would have taught her to be a host.

These moments come less often now, but still they come and they still take my breath away, just for a second. I am sometimes the only one who sees them. Standing with my hands in dishwater, a parallel universe opens, spins, whirls and collapses amidst the pots soaking, and I start loading the dishwasher.

She is like me, this niece of mine. With her shiny idealism and her love of shoes and le bon mot. I see myself in her, and it catches my heart in my throat. The world will hurt you, terribly, and I can do nothing to stop it.

In another world, a world twenty degrees away from my own, live the children my body sheltered. In this world live the children given to me to care for, tangentially. And I send her into the living room, to the people who have known me for very nearly twenty years, pleased that she could know them and their love of words and oddities.

Two planes, twenty degrees apart, passing each other in the pre-dawn darkness.

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2 Responses to Two Planes and Twenty

  1. a says:

    Never underestimate your influence… I learned more about life from my aunts than I ever did from my mother. It’s how we work in my family – mothers contribute plenty, but aunts are absolutely necessary to developing a fully rounded life.

    And those 20 degree rotations are everywhere in life – from schooling to spouse to career…and to your children.

  2. debby says:

    Funny…I was going to say what ‘a’ said. I cannot tell you the times I’ve thought ‘what if?’ What if I’d have gone straight instead of slowing to make a left hand turn which got me rear-ended. What if I would have left my ex-husband years earlier, could I have saved my daughter? What if I’d’ve known about scholarships? What if I’d have gone to college earlier in my life? What if? What if? What if? In the end, I think, life is always going to be ‘what if’.

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