beer in a can
while i was at my mothers house there was plenty of time for sitting in fold out chairs and smoking a cigarette and staring through the leaves out into the sky. it was always blue, the sky, and i dont always like it like that, sometimes i like the heavens to be filled with gloom and fright and about to burst all over you, but while i was at my mothers i appreciated every cloudless moment.
i hate to regress back into the past, especially a past so recent, instead of writing about what is happening right now right here right at this very second, but there isnt much going on this side of the screen, and just earlier i was filled with a sensation that was old and gone but the memory of where it came from still fresh and ripe inside my mind.
what it was, the sensation, was a warm relief. a stress free instant, and those are very rare.
i was sitting with my mother in her driveway. we were both smoking a cigarette and i had a can of beer and she had a glass of wine. the sun was on a decline, but it still lit up the sky with a searing enthusiasm. it wasnt going down without a fight. the breeze was slow and balmy and touched our skin without bother. my brother and her husband were in the house watching television, a nascar race or a crime drama or a cooking show where the chef travels around the world tasting exotic cuisines. everything seemed silent, even nature. the trees didnt rustle, the birds didnt chirp, the dogs werent even barking, and usually we cant shut those beast up.
my mother swept her hand over the property and sighed. -we are so lucky. she said.
i looked around, breathing it all in. -yup.
She went on, -i never thought- not for a minute- that i would ever own anything so beautiful. after all those years of working so hard, just trying to make ends meet. just barely paying the bills and keeping you kids fed and clothed and every second being gone before i knew it... she trailed off, lost in her long history, the years behind her and the years ahead. i took another sip of my beer, listening to her. she sighed again and smiled.
-you see all these trees? [her husband] knows every one of them. every single leaf and limb. he knows them intimately. he spends most of his free time trimming and clipping and piling what hes cut. every tree here, he loves. he makes them beautiful, he makes this whole place beautiful, but he pays special attention to the trees. he gets up there with his clippers and his saw. and hes so delicate, so careful. it's spiritual for him. it truly is.
she paused and laughed silently, sharing something personal and intimate with herself. i didnt want to interrupt her, i just drank my budweiser and lit another smoke and watched purple strands of night tickle the horizon. the timer flicked the driveway lights on and their dull, yellow glow spread along the edges of the concrete curves. i put my cigarette out then, letting the last puffs of smoke curl up then whiff away.
i knew what she meant, about it being spiritual for him. i understood it immediately and felt a gentle envy inside me. it was friendly, not malicious, and proud for him and her. it was the house, the land, that we all wished we'd grown up in. the quiet security of comfort filled every room, every corner, every foot of dirt and every blade of grass. she understood how fortunate we were to be able to sit there, slow and drunken, and with no hurry. no reason to leave. and she was glad i was there, she was glad she could share it with us, her children, her husband. she was glad she had found a place where peace could come so easy.
she grabbed the edges of her chair and lifted herself up, groaning and grunting, making it an exaggerated affair. i rolled my eyes, -that was a little much dont you think? you're not that old. then we both laughed.
-i'm going inside to make dinner, she said, -you want another beer?
and it was this sensation, of having everything in the world right there in the calm of your creature, that i was filled with this morning, as the thunderstorms from the morning dried up in the gutters and the sun filled the sky with bright promise.