Tonight, someone is getting married in the courtyard beside my father’s house. The ceremony was quiet. With the bedroom window open, only sweet, subtle sounds slipped over the brick and the ivy and into the house. The clinking of crystal champagne flutes, the scraping of a plastic fork on thick paper, muted conversation from one table, and another, and another, all pushing together and dancing in the moonlight. The hum of happy talk, words thick with hope and honey, sounded something like the sea. Breathing in. Breathing out. Coming. Going.
The wedding tinted the night sky a pale pink and I was happy to be so near to it.
And then, late into the night, there was the thump of a speaker, music fast and slow and sometimes both, all at once. The drunken shuffling of high heels and boots, and then of bare feet. The pop of another bottle cork, laughter, shouting, singing. After a while, once all of the stars were out, there was only quiet. The clicking of car doors. Bodies pressing against one another, whispering goodnight, congratulations, it was beautiful.
I am in bed, sandwiched between two tiny, sleeping bodies. I extend my leg under the cover. My toes find his. We rest against one another quietly, breathing. The smell of a wildwood cigar finds its way into the bedroom.
We’ve had the shop for exactly fourteen months today. Since the beginning, each day runs into the next like spilled wine. We wake, we dress, we fix oatmeal or pancakes or eggs. We open the shop at 10, lunch at noon, dinner at five, and asleep by nine. Every day. The very same thing. It’s beautiful, in a way, and it’s terrible, in a way, because there aren't any fluctuations in the rhythm of things. Like a train thundering forward, sometimes I feel as if I’m running from my life, rather than riding on top of it. We wouldn’t trade it, though. The moments that we get to spend together, the four of us, are so rare and precious.
Beside me, Aspen shifts slightly in her sleep, and then yells with eyes closed, “Mama, no! Don’t leave! I’m coming too! I’m coming too!” I press a hand against her side and whisper shh, my love, of course you are. She settles, breathing slowly. I wonder what she’s dreaming of.
In the last year, we’ve moved three times. From our home, the peachy yellow victorian downtown, into Lisa’s garage, and now, into the room in my father’s house that faces the courtyard. Homelessness has been mostly bright - we have family to hold us while we wait for the shop to provide hands of our own. We’re almost there. After the summer, maybe. And until then, we will continue to gently shave away the sides of our excess. Our clothes can be folded and stacked into three small packs. Aspen has a bunny, a penguin named Everest, and a little leather purse to hold her coins. Fitting everything we own into the smallest possible space has been something made of magic. We have nothing present that doesn't serve a purpose. No weight. It feels as light as springtime. And when we do have a home of our own, one day, one day, our shoulders will be topped with feathers, rather than stones.
Finn wakes once before I fall asleep and reaches wobbling fingers for milk. He latches, and tucks his knees against me, and sighs. Outside, I can hear a final pair of people packing tables and chairs into the belly of a truck. Their voices are loud and laced with liquor.
“Will that be us some day?” A woman laughs and drops something against the sidewalk.
“God, I hope so,” he answers.
Under the covers, I smile. Touch my toes to his. And there we are, breathing slowly, in and out, the four of us.