The last time I felt warm was in August. I was sitting on the porch, in the shade, the cats in asymmetrical puddles at my feet, and we were all simply oppressed by the heat. We were dying of it. We were melting. And we didn’t even appreciate it.
Since then, I’ve been cold. My fingers have been stiff and clumsy, my ear tips have been numb, and my nose has been running. I can’t get warm. I can’t get comfortable. I can’t shake the suspicion that I will never be warm again.
I do love the winter. But I love the indoorsness of it. I love reading by the fire. I love making a nice Sunday roast and feeling pleasantly domestic. I love seeing snow come down outside the window. I do, sometimes, love walking the dogs in the cold and hearing the fracturing silence of the woods around us and seeing the clear infinity above us; I love the feeling of expansion and implosion happening at the same time, that inside-out feeling, the aliveness that results.
And then I love going inside and making a cup of tea.
Right now I’m in the Starbucks on the corner, working while T has his piano lesson down the road. I’m working, but mostly I’m being distracted. There’s a boy beside me who is thoroughly enjoying his breakfast wrap smothered in guacamole from a plastic cup, and his carton milk, and it’s all I can do to keep from leaning over and brushing up his crumbs for him and reminding him to throw away his napkin when he’s done. Jesus, when the fuck did I become so maternal? I mean, I know, I have all these kids, but still. I was never the person who rushed over when a kid started crying, my own or anyone else’s, and while I’m still not, all these half-grown humans I come across just get to me. Maybe it’s because they’re so close to those confusing years, those years when you can’t shake the suspicion that everything you are doing is done for the wrong reason. You worry that you will never be loved the way you’ve been told you deserve, your job will never be something more than a way to pay the rent on the crummy room in the crummy neighborhood where your crummy roommates leave their cigarettes burning on plates in the kitchen, where the X-box is constantly on, where nobody remembers to buy any milk or clean the toilet. I just want to help them open their straws, tuck their hats further down over their ears, and make them eat an apple.
My own half-grown boy will meet me soon at the burrito place across the street. This is our Sunday routine. We’ll eat burritos. I’ll remind him to throw his napkin away. We’ll speak few words, until we start talking about politics and he’ll teach me some stuff. We’ll head home and probably stop at the grocery store because it’s darn near impossible to keep food in the house these days, and then we’ll dive back into the rest of the family and it will be cozy.
And I will feel almost warm.