“What is it you were taking pictures of?” She asked. I realized then I had been neither invisible nor gone unnoticed the past few minutes I’d spent contorting my body to get rid of glare that threatened to ruin the 15 second video segments I hoped to put on Instagram. That while the beach was deserted, it was a straight shot from wherever she had come with her companion, and I must have been in their line of sight for quite some time.
Tina it turns out was Australian. While she did make a polite comment about the pictures of the money cowries, even lifting an eyebrow when I told her how rare they were, rarer still that they would have their mantles out, I could tell I’d lost her. I was also acutely aware of the tuna-onion concoction I had eaten driving down to the beach. I suspect if her sinuses were in any working order Tina was also aware of it.
Manic Mondays. I tell ya. What? Really? You who can literally spend the whole day in your pajamas? A manic Monday? Well yeah. Mondays I babysit. A kid with a runaway mom. I can’t argue with that. The feeling at least, the need to escape. When I was recovering from my C-section with Rossi it was horrible, I felt trapped. As a coping mechanism I would check my bank account and drive towards the airport, reminding myself that although I chose this, I could leave if I wanted. I could fly away and never return. Three miles of running scenarios through my head, all the futures I could have. The airport is twenty miles away but three is all it took, I’d crank the steering wheel and head home. (Something I would HAVE to do regardless as I never packed luggage or a toothbrush, and rarely remembered to put shoes on when I ran out the door.) Arriving at home I was happy, I had numerous options and choices, and I had chosen them. I was in control, not some helpless victim of circumstance.
The runaway moms. I remember as a kid when moms started disappearing. I was 7 or 8, and a few of my friend’s moms left, sending them off to school one day with smiles, waves, and snacks I envied. The next day they would be standing in lunch line with the rest of us hoping for the best. Now here I am, knocking on thirty’s door, and the runaway moms are my peers. Other people watch the child they used to helicopter parent (helicopter parents hover and overprotect). I feel a great sadness not only for the child but for them. The whole kid thing is sad, but if social media is any indication of what happens to them, these women inevitably find themselves on a weeknight, in a room full of strangers. They state their name, tell their story, and eventually seek forgiveness. Forgiveness and reconciliation with a child who no longer NEEDS them, has learned to survive without them, and has no want of them. They feel alone. Awake and alone.
I was awake at a horrible morning hour, drinking black coffee, holding my nose shut while I tanked it to keep the shudders of revulsion at bay. Gids’ friend who was coming over had been sick. Normally when he comes we hit the beach. They run around being wild free creatures and I pull actual wild free creatures out of Rossi’s mouth and clutched fists. Hermit crabs, sea cucumbers, shrimp and such.
It was raining, Gids’ friend while better still had the rusty cough of a dragon suffering smoke inhalation. So we stayed inside. At 3:30 when he was picked up and we waved him off, I turned back into our house. It looked like Thing One and Thing Two had ransacked it. Only Thing One was still here. He wasn’t sick. He wasn’t recovering. He was overflowing with mischief and mayhem.
I assembled the previously mentioned tuna-onion concoction to make my hunger pains dissipate after discovering the jar of peanut butter was empty. Off to the beach we went. Upon arrival Gids insisted after being unbuckled that I shut the door so he could leap out of the open window onto the sand. Then he was off chasing snowflake eels and collecting monster bits (battered bodies of giant lobsters brought in by the tide). Rossi fell asleep in the shade. I was hobbling over the reef, a sharp jutting sandstone creation full of urchins blanketed in red algae, when I found them. The money cowries. So named because they were once harvested in the Maldives as currency by slave traders. There they were, mantles flaring up like tattoos over white shells. Maui and Hawai’i island have more of them, but they are rare here. I’ve only seen one before and it hadn’t come out of its shell. So there I was hunched over, blocking glare, when Tina walked past on the sand and I left them to talk with her. I could have told her truthfully it wasn’t really about the cowries. It was about me not feeling for a few brief moments like a robotic computer program churning out commands and reminders. I was just a person watching and trying to understand something I’m not likely to come across again for a very long while. But it was easier to bust out my phone and show off my glare free pictures.
Thank-you so very much for having taken the time to read my blog today! I greatly appreciate it, and hope you have a wonderful day!!! Sincerely, The Chauffeur