Susan's Blog

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Afternoon in Brookline

It’s been raining all day.  During a break in the wet, Ned, Nat and I went outside to fix the arbors that hold (held) up our gargantuan wisteria vine.  The arbors, once glorious arches, were crushed into M’s during the winter, from snow sliding off our roof.  I wanted to wait until the blossoms were over before dealing with them; today was the day.

Nat held the screwdriver and he and Ned got a few of the rungs off, while I waded into the trunks that were wrapped like boa constrictors around the iron legs of the arches.  The leaves slapped wet fingers at me as I wrestled with branches.  My arms ached as I squeezed the jaws of the pruning sheers, forcing their teeth into the rain-softened bark.  “This is what it’s like being in the Amazon Rain Forest,” I said to Ned, ridiculously happy.  It was probably because I love working in the garden with him — it is a rare occurrence.  I doubly love it when Nat helps.

At one point, Nat was holding up the semi-detached arch, and as Ned stepped down the boulder steps, I saw the arch slip.  To my horror, and before I could reach it or get any words out, it hit Nat right in the neck.  “GO INSIDE, GO INSIDE,” Nat screamed, the very same cry he made as a two-year-old whenever he got upset.  Or maybe it was “go outside.”  Nat jumped up and down on the driveway gravel, jackhammering the stones into deep bowls under his feet.

“Oh, Natty,” I said, trying to soothe him.  But I also realized it must have hurt so much and, God dammit, it makes you mad when you hurt your head.  Who doesn’t scream and swear and want to punch something.  “It hurts, I know,” I said, “Just let it out.”  I did not tell him to calm down and stop screaming; I think that was the first time I ever just completely felt that the tantrum he was having was exactly right.  He jumped more, screamed more, his legs like pistons; his fists seemed to be waving him higher.

I led him inside when he was ready and he let me ice it.  It seemed fine, once I looked at it carefully.  When we were done, he sprung up and put his shoes back on, my brave young man, getting back on that horse.  Ned and I worked for a while longer, and then the rain came down in fat droplets.  “I guess we can’t take our walk, Nat,” Ned said.

“Take walk.”

“We can drive, Nat.  Where should we go?”  Ned asked.

“Drive to Starbucks.”

“Yeah, Nat, let’s do that!” I said.  “But first, I have to nap.”

I lay down with my head in Ned’s lap while he read and I fell into a deep sleep.  When I woke up, Nat was ready to go.  We got into the car and I got the idea to see a movie.  Ned and I decided on the new Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris. It was playing right in town, in 15 minutes.  I had no idea what Nat would think of it, but we figured we’d go anyway.  Nat readily agreed to candy in the movie instead of brownie at Starbucks, and after standing in a long line, miraculously we got tickets.  Soon we were in our seats.

Midnight in Paris is about serendipity.  A young writer takes a walk at midnight down some lonely Parisian alley and finds himself literally transported back to Paris in the 1920’s, in the car of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.  The movie was delectable as only Woody Allen can do it, making you wish you were beautiful and free in Paris.  I wondered what Nat was thinking about it.  Could have been a million things.  I felt content not to know, just glad that he was sitting next to me, okay with being there, unhurt from that stupid arch, shoving Junior Mints into his mouth.  We, too had our own bit of serendipity and luck, being transported for a while from the gray sleepy June day to the golden glory of Paris.  Nat watched quietly, paying special attention whenever there was music or singing onscreen.

When we got to the car, Ned asked, “Nat what was that movie about?”

Nat smiled, and said, “You fall down.”

Ned said “No, Natty!”  We  laughed — even Nat did — and I said, “As good a movie review as there ever was.”  And we went home, pleased with our own glory, of just being alive and together on a sodden gray day.


There is joy in just being a family some days.

— added by Penny on Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Loved that movie too. Love having whole family working outside. Hard to engineer for any family.

— added by Jthan on Sunday, June 12, 2011 at 12:04 am

Nice! Last time we took Henry to a movie we lasted all of 20 minutes. Kind of an expensive venture. Maybe I didn’t give him enough Junior Mints? 😉

— added by Nancy Bea on Sunday, June 12, 2011 at 5:34 pm

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