Body and Mind
My daughter Mara is getting married next week — my daughter who is in her thirties now, not her twenties; not a teen; not a young child crossing the street for the first time; not an infant I rock in my arms at 3 A.M., too tired to think straight, the sleepless nights stacked up like planes in a holding pattern, the pilots growing drowsier and drowsier. Wake up! She’s getting married!
I dreamt that I was in London, offering my business card to English women in exchange for a hug. They seemed pleased to hug an American; I was satisfied with the arrangement, too. Then I met a woman who was visiting from North Carolina. I didn’t come all this way to hug someone from North Carolina, I thought. But I gave her my card, too.
If I sit here waiting for the perfect sentence to show up, I’ve got a long wait ahead of me. Maybe the perfect sentence doesn’t want me to wait. Maybe the perfect sentence is tired of one-night stands with writers who fall in love too easily, who can’t be trusted to stick around when the perfect sentence turns out to be not so perfect after all.
On the bedside table is a card with a picture of a sunflower on it. Inside, my mother has written in her elegant cursive: “Decide to wake up each day with a smile.” Each word is underlined individually. It takes courage, I think, for a mother to write that after her son — my brother — has committed suicide.