Saturday, March 18, 2006

spring break, one more time

Late morning. We are at the Department of Motor Vehicles. I need a new license. I moved, I have a new address. A daughter needs a license as well. Hers was stolen. We’re all there, waiting, the whole bunch of us. Nothing to read, nothing to do. There is a trivia quiz flashing on the electronic monitor. No, boring. Let me practice facial expressions for the camera. Which smile should I use, this one? Maybe. This one? Maybe. This one? – no not that one! I look at them. They are laughing so hard: tear-inducing laughter. Damn it, what’s wrong with that one?

We are walking down a Chicago block earlier in the week. Remember when I was in sixth grade? – I’m asked. Yeah… There was a quiz I had to respond to, how well I knew my parents. Remember? One question was about my mom’s favorite color. I knew you didn’t have one, but I needed to answer. You like blue, no? So I put down blue. Yeah… And then it was your turn. You could look at my answers and fill in your real ones. Yeah… And when it came to what’s your favorite color, you wrote “I have no favorite. NOT blue.” You broke my heart. Roll back, let me do it over again!

Did you love me forever, for those three days? Lucinda Williams sings on the CD. A new line to use when you fish for something that lasts forever. Did you only love me, for those three days? No, no, I love you forever!

Spring break. Last days of it. Snow melts. I cook one last dinner. One daughter is supremely late. I want to kill her, she knows the rules. A person cooks, you show up. But I can’t.

On the CD player, Woodie Guthrie sings a song we play each year on March 17th, for no good reason.

Go to sleep you weary hobo
Let the towns drift slowly by
Can't you hear the steel rail humming
That's a hobo's lullaby

Do not think about tomorrow
Let tomorrow come and go
Tonight you're in a nice warm boxcar
Safe from all the wind and snow

Madison Mar 06 230