(This post is part of a series for August 2013 entitled “Unphotographed Moments.” Read the intro to the series here.)
Thursday’s Unphotographed Moment:
Without forewarning or fanfare I schlepped my cello over to my beloved friends’ house for a planned gathering, answered queries with a vague “yes, I am going to play something later,” and parked it against a divider wall between living room and kitchen. A few glasses of wine later, my hosts’ curiosity finally got the better of them, and they asked more specifically, what? And when? I love a good surprise, but this was not the time for one, and I awkwardly admitted to having written a piece for solo cello in honor of, in memory of, in mourning for the brilliant light that was their three year old son, diagnosed with JMML a year ago, lost nearly seven months ago, who ought to be turning four years old next week.
I warmed up with a piece I’d been meaning to share with them for awhile: “Mashed Marley,” a Bob Marley medley written by request of one of my students, written around the time they lost their Marley-loving son. A piece easily memorized by proxy during lessons, and quite fun to play, if I do say so myself.
Then my piece. Their piece. Written for their son, and them, and the tremendous jagged boy-shaped hole in their lives. A piece I do not yet have completely memorized, and thus Rapunzel volunteered herself as human music stand. And I began to play. And my music stand began to cry. And it was horrible and lovely and I didn’t do a terrible job, despite the wine.
I know their hearts felt my intent. In the hand clasping, the eye welling, the glistening silence after the last percussive tap on my cello’s resonant surface.
I treasure these friends, who do not need to recapture the momentum of conversation, who can allow a moment to be uncomfortably beautiful and sad, who do not mind the restlessness of my post-performance hands entwining fabric in purposeless loops, like rosary beads or daisy chains.
Friday’s Unphotographed Moment:
Sharing a playground with a horde of teenagers, approximately freshmen in high school. To my surprise, the boys were the most considerate (rebuking “Don’t swear! There’s a little kid over there!”) while the girls were heedless — one even stole the tire swing from Owlet while I was catching a wandering Platypup and declined to see us standing five feet away until I said, “excuse me,” in my best stern mama voice.
Saturday’s Unphotographed Moment:
Tricycling home from a solo-parent dinner out with my little ones, a warm-turning-cool breeze ruffling our hair, a cloud-smeared sunset glossing our cheeks. Feeling the essence of “unphotographed moments” ringing deep within me.
Sunday’s Unphotographed Moments:
Driving a preteen child whose parent is ill to UU. Listening to her bright alto sing to my poopy-fussy Platypup the whole way there. Wanting and not wanting to share my knowledge of our shared experience having a parent with cancer, seeing as mine turned out so devastatingly. Hoping her story is brighter, preparing myself to be a pillar of empathy if it is not.
Taking hopefully our last trip in the Jetta as a family on the way to meet my sister to pick up her car (we are “car-sitting” while she is in Shanghai and lending the Jetta to friends). There is nothing like a car without AC to make you wish you had just stayed home, but getting out into the delicious bay air and promptly to a nearby playground went a long way toward erasing the painful memory of sweltering stop-and-go traffic. As did the sushi we inhaled for dinner before rochambeauing to see who got to drive two exhausted grumpy kids home in the old car and who got to zip off solo in the new car. I won the first round and we tied the next several rounds so I declared myself the winner in light of the increasing impatience to be on the road from the younger set, got only token protest from Thor, and enjoyed a blissful 45-minute silence only slightly tinged with unfamiliar car anxiety.
Monday’s Unphotographed Moments:
Turning on our solar system! Enjoying guilt-free AC, refrigeration, computing, and all the rest, not to mention the singular joy of charging the electric company for supplying them with power. Yes, friends, our meter is running backward.
Admittedly, we did photograph the inauguration of our solar system:
(Platypup assisted Thor in figuring out which switches needed turning when.)
Bile-inducing shock and disgust upon learning that some white members of my favorite online breastfeeding support group The Leaky Boob were bizarrely opposed to the first annual Black Breastfeeding Week. One member wrote an excellent rebuttal to their bigoted hate-explosion entitled “Dear White Women: Top Five Reasons Why We Need a Black Breastfeeding Week” which I encourage everyone to read.
Today’s one-shot photo:
The beginnings of our tomato deluge, accented by our ongoing cucumber onslaught.