Monday, July 31, 2006

bittersweet

I brace the cherry between my tongue and my teeth, pulling the stem out and losing it somewhere in the couch while I wait for my circa 1996 laptop to boot up. The pit makes a muffled dink as it hits the bowl, and I absent-mindedly reach for another, being careful not to mismanage the stem this time. I wonder, as the screen flickers and the internal workings of my machine click and whirl and beep, where the summer could possibly have gone.

Three weeks until school starts. Three weeks until routine and schedule and order return to our lives. Three weeks until I have my night-life back again. Three weeks until I can really write again. Three weeks until I lose my daughter again…

Must everything always be so bitter-sweet?

As if to answer me, I bite into a cherry not yet fully ripe and am caught off guard by the tartness of its taste. I look up from the screen to search for a burgundy-ripe selection and chase away the bitter with the cool, delicious sweetness.

This has been my summer. Chasing away the fleas, the raccoons under the deck, the termites, the weeds, the potty training, the endless pairs of poopy underpants, the tantrums, the attitudes, the battles over flash cards, the battles over dinner time, the battles over getting into the pool, the battles over getting out of the pool—chasing it all away with the sweet moments of star gazing and camp fires and friendship bracelets and “field trips” and making ice cream and you’re the best Mommy ever. All in all, I am left with a sweet taste in my mouth.

Even if I’ve not written a lick.

What was once a beautiful bowl of luscious deep-red cherries is now a collection of pits and stems—at least most of the stems. They are what remain. When these stifling days of lingering sunlight and long walks are gone, we will have consumed them fully—used them up in the best way we know how—together. The memories will remain.

And once school starts, I’ll share some of them with you.

8 comments:

Sam said...

I know how you feel. Only I have the sense of regret that I "should've" done more. Spent more time with the friends that I have, ones that I'm losing. Not been so diciplined and uptight about working on my studies. I fear that I'll wake up at the end of highschool, or when my friends leave, only to wonder where time has gone and wish I'd done more with my friends. Enjoyed them more. Taken the time.
But the door also swings both ways. Sometimes they're unreliable. Or other things in life get away.
This is your blog post not mine and it's supposed to be a comment which is shorter. My apologies. Good writing.;)

lorie said...

comment away, sam! i'm glad to hear i'm not the only one who struggles with this--i have since childhood--i guess it's just wired into who i am to have this compulsion to soak everything up... in the end, it's not a bad thing, but it can be a little frustrating at times like this!

Angela said...

good piece

i was just thinking this the other day, what happened to the summer? what happened to 2006?

lorie said...

Thanks, Angela! Time is FLYING--I don't like it!!!

Beth said...

This SO captures the feelings of losing my daughter at the beginning of the school year. Yes, I'm ready for school on the one hand, but on the other, I hate that I have to share my girl so very much (though we tend to drive each other nuts in close proximity for too long -- something about being EXACTLY ALIKE, ya know?). The boys are only 1/2 day this year, but next year, I'll be a combination of thrilled and a big fat mess.

lorie said...

I hear ya, Beth. I'm a big fat mess half the time anyway--have you heard that stupid "roots and wings" song on the radio? Yeah. Can't stand it. But I tear up every time. I'm pathetic. Truly.

Sam said...

I can't stand that song either!

lorie said...

I knew you were too cool, Sam!