While rummaging through a cluttered drawer for a misplaced tool, a faint cry was heard from the neighboring room. Before long, the tiny grumble had made her way into the kitchen to investigate the loco commotion. She let out a few warning whimpers, and the sprinklers were dangerously in queue.
“Mr. Teddy… Where’d you go?”, whimpered Lani as she slid her socks across the sun-stained linoleum. Her eyes were rosy and her nose was running and she wiped them both on her sleeve.
"Daddy, I can’t fine Mr. Teddy”, she sniveled; “I think he randaway”.
She pulled at his shirt and looked up, repeating herself between tugs.
"What’s wrong hun, lose your bear?" he said in a calming, but curious voice. “I can’t fine him. I think he’s gone.”, she cried. “Well, let’s go finD mommy. She’ll know what to do.”
He took Lani’s hand and gingerly walked her toward the living room. "Honey. Honey, have you seen Mr. Teddy? I think he randaway”,he chuckled.
Lani let out another cry.
With cat-like motherly reflexes, she laid her book on the couch with the pages down. As she stood up to flatten her dress, a ray of sunlight danced across her body and wobbled around her waist like a halo hula hoop. The gentle warmth of the summer Sun quickly tempered her lips into a simpered smile. She bent down slightly and placed a hand on Lani’s cheek and gently reassured her: ”Don’t worry sweetie, we’ll find him. You want mommy to make you a snack while daddy looks for Mr. Teddy?”
"Uh huh", she hummed as she cleared her nose with a snotty slurp, “can I have juice, Momma?”
"Of course you can, baby girl. Go wait in the kitchen, Mommy will be there in a minute." Lani hurried toward the kitchen, distracted and happy.
She watched and waited as Lani turned the corner. “Well?”, she said anxiously. With a confident twirl of the handle he said, “Don’t worry, I got it.” “Alright, I’ll make her a quick lunch and then we’ll head upstairs.” There was a short pause and she looked back toward the kitchen. “What do you think?”
As she licked her lips, she could taste the cherry in her berry gloss.
With a nod and a smile he moved closer. His arms wrapped low behind her waist. Their stomachs touched with a warm embrace and he whispered beside her ear, “She’ll love it”, before kissing her on the lips and wandering up the stairs.
A few moments passed and there were a series of thuds, followed by the sound of muffled footsteps.
"Is everything okay, hun?" She yelled from the kitchen into the living room.
"Yeah! I just need to spinach-chewing-the-eel’s-yawn", he garbled inaudibly from the bedroom, down the stairs; "Five more minutes!"
She understood, or at least the last part. “Okay!”, she replied. There was a slight pause for further instructions followed by a low squeal and the click of a closing door. The thuds continued. She smiled and began cutting the apple into slices. Now half-slices.
‘The Restless Wonder’ began kicking her legs anxiously under the table. Her hungry blue eyes crisscrossed the kitchen, digesting every detail like a tasty eye-ppetizer. With a quick gulp of air she wondered, ”What’s daddy doing?”.
“He’s looking for Mr. Teddy, remember?” she said while placing the quarter-slices on the table. “Finish your lunch and we’ll go upstairs and help Daddy.” “Okay”, she mumbled over the sound of tiny teeth chewing on apple pieces.
Talking into the fridge; “Do you want orange or apple juice?” “I want… apuewl!!” She spewed with a mouthful of do-it-yourself applesauce. “Lani, swallow your aPPLe. You’re going to make a mess.” “Okay”, she softly replied while reaching for her sippy cup.
Leaning against the counter, she looked around the kitchen, and then back at the fridge. She stared at the open deli for a moment before popping the plastic lid and grabbing a handful of strawberries. She ate one, handed two to Lani, and then finished the rest.
"Uh… Alright, let’s see", he glanced back at the instructions and began reading:
'Attach the Dropside Rail to cribs ends as shown in Figure 9A, pull the drop rail up to the highest position (check). Screw the two block brakes into the holes provided in the lower plastic drop track as shown in Figure 9B (check), tighten block brakes with a Philips screwdriver…',
Glancing back at the instructions, he curled the outside edges of his lips and mumbled “check”, before continuing to read silently.
‘Insert the foot casters (S) as shown in Figure 9C and tighten all bolts (check). Inspect the crib to make sure it is assembled correctly and all bolts are tight (check)!’
Lani was riding sidesaddle up the stairs, resting her legs comfortably on both sides. “Momma, where do apullss come from?”, she said with genuine interest. “From the store. And they get their apples from a farm outside the city.” “But where do the farms get apullss?” “They grow them, silly!”, she said with a breathy laugh.
By the second to last step, as she neared the white-carpet summit, her breaths were now shallow and elevated. She lowered Lani to the floor and they stood at the top of the stairs.
“I wonder where Mr. Teddy could be?”, She yelled blatantly down the hall. There was a sudden rustle of plastic and cardboard coming from the once-guest bedroom followed by the sound of hurried footsteps.The doorknob rattled and turned; first one way, then another, before opening. Rising from a sea of bubble-wrap, her honey-do champion had conquered his Graco® foe and was proudly strolling out the door and down the hall.
"Uh… Honey, why don’t you and Lani go check out the guestroom. I’ll bet Mr. Teddy is in there.", he said in passing with an armful of packaging. She leaned in with a smile and lowered his chin with her fingers for a quick kiss. He reciprocated and mirrored her smile before slowly turning his head, followed by his eyes, and walking down the stairs.
With an ear-to-ear jack o’lantern smile, Lani’s face lite up like a forty-watt pumpkin and she let out a series of squeals varying from jackhammer to jetplane before settling on the bubbling giggle of a low-burning teapot. Her tiny hands firmly tugged at her mother’s slender fingers; steering them both down the hall toward the door.
A thin line of light crept between the cracks of the parted door frame, raced across the floor, and expanded against the wall. As the door opened, their eyes became narrow to the blinding white glare of sunlight reflecting off clean carpet before adjusting to the light. As focus returned, Lani was quick to notice the newly fashioned crib below the sun-flooded window. But what’s more, she noticed Mr. Teddy sitting peacefully in the sunlight.
Each morning we rise from our beds with heightened resolve in hopes of conquering the coming day. Divided by our social dichotomies, we shuffle from our beds into a world of injustice. A flourishing ecosystem where the weak are preyed upon by the morally weaker. We prepare ourselves to witness the inconsistencies of the day before so that we may defeat them. We instill within ourselves, and our children, the strength to venture into this cruel and beautiful world to find what we need and to dispose of our weakness. As we wake to face another trial which will test our inner-fortitude, we are tempered through the warmth of the Summer Sun; pounding ferociously against our necks. The gentle warmth that once graced our waking face is soon transformed into the blistering heat of the stagnant day. The comforts we once enjoyed are quickly evaporated by the hot and deceiving torture of the afternoon. Is this not the promised time of year? The all-awaited hour of our possible salvation and inevitable damnation? No. I will not suffer in this heat. I will weather this season positioned against the cold trunk of a shaded tree. There I will wait, and see, and question what I see in the hot open air of Summer. I will not sweat this heat away and I will not allow it to consume me with the Earth. I will survive; I will thrive, and consume all that the World has to offer until I am nauseous and sedated with my gluttony.
It always starts the same. You lock eyes and, without thinking, you send them a smile from across the room. Whether you meant to or not, you’ve already made the first move. Before you know it, you’re talking. Maybe not politics and religion (that’s rude), but you’re shooting the breeze and that’s what counts. That’s the kind of conversation that matters. You can debate and negotiate for days but you’ll never be as interesting as the weather.
Next comes the tricky part. You somehow have to convince this person that you’re interesting before they realize that you’re not. Sure, you could lie, but that never goes over well. You could even tell the truth, but that never goes over well either. I suppose the best alternative is to just be yourself and hope that they can somehow relate. I’ve always found myself to be a very malleable person(ality). I can be who you want me to be or I can be someone completely different. I don’t do this purposely to trick people into liking me. I’m not even a good liar, honest. I just have a habit of making people happy by being who they expect me to be.
Aside from all the build up and anticipation, there eventually has to be some emotional plateau. At some point you have to level out and find your median. Personally, I think women have got to be the most complex creatures on the planet. Yet, they make it look so easy. With the bat of a single lash, they can completely shatter your world, or, fill it with the most beautiful thoughts imaginable. Thoughts so wonderful and exquisite that they’re impossible to imagine unless you’re experiencing them: like describing color to the blind or sound to the deaf.
What makes things complicated are the expectations in between. Both sides of the relationship have differing expectations and only through compromise and sacrifice can you eventually come to an understanding. It’s this “eventual understanding” which drives people apart. Most people never make it through the turbulence.
I have to say, it’s nice to live freely and without the obligations of being with someone, but there are things I miss about being in a relationship. It’s not the intimacy. It’s not even the sex. It’s the fact that you get to know someone better than you ever thought you could. Waking up, knowing they’re there, feeling their warmth beside you when you sleep; it’s all so natural and implied. Like you’re having a silent conversation and telling poetry through body language.