When I walk my daughter home from the bus stop, we hold hands. I don’t know for how much longer we’ll do this so I’m vigilant about letting my awareness drift down and settle in my hand, to let the memory burn and hopefully become a scar. Today, she forgot her key and we were locked out of her mom’s house.
When you’re locked out of the house, all your plans stop. Your sentences get shorter. You were going to. You have to. Nope. You’re locked out of the house. Your will flails, gasps, dies. Finally resigned to being locked out of the house, you notice the way the light dances on a pumpkin. Your daughter’s hair. Her pink shoes. You begin to theorize in the second person that the gods can only enter your life through the gaps of thwarted desire. Should you write a novel? Why are the kindest people the most vicious? How the clouds? The past and future are myths. What is there apart from being locked out of the house with this beaming girl?
“We made cookies. Try one, Daddy. I want to be a baker. A cookie baker.”
And now you’re eating a cookie in the sun, locked out of the house, and your daughter has chosen a career path. You tell her that all the world’s best bakers did their homework, even, especially, when they were locked out of the house. Buoyed by her dreams, she does her homework on the step and you feel a heightened sense of significance in this unexpected form of presence with your daughter, the apprentice baker, and the pumpkin shining forth in all its orange glory. The pumpkin is proud of itself and it ought to be, so persistently persisting.
You can’t help but let the literal fact of being locked out of the house bleed into a metaphor of wishing you were locked out of your subjective house, out of your tenacious will and desire, free to stand outside, able to let things be. You inhale, exhale, sneak peeks at your daughter, taste the cookie, and the pumpkin – you swear to god – smiles at you and winks. You will be okay. You will be okay. You already are.
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