What happens in the afternoon: 4.10.16
Posted by: jade crystal harmon
It’s a sunday morning and the day before us is all blue whale proportions. Hours expand in the warmth, fitting in a long brunch with plenty of ketchup, watermelon, hot cups of coffee; we watch the rippled surface of the river and try to name all its colors with unfocused eyes until a bald eagle slices across the sky with butter-knife slowness; the kid fills 9 complimentary coloring book pages with nonstop running commentary as melon rinds pile up around him; the morning stretches 20% lycra, 80% spandex as a short stroll wanders into a hike along the river, over newly-green farm fields and under bridges, our hands full of fuzzy sumac sticks; we crunch on icicles plucked from tiny flinty caves; we look for another skipping rock and another.
As we play at jumping on each others shadows, the position of the sun suddenly startles us and we realize it’s afternoon; we are halfway up a mountain and the cats are home waiting to be fed. The waistband of the afternoon tightens around the big, full belly of the morning. Fingers quickly calculate the squeeze before dinnertime, bedtime; the kid’s afternoon nap is abandoned. We brace ourselves for his sleep-deprived Banner-to-Hulk Mad Hatter metamorphosis. The morning’s quaint household sprawl sours into squalor that must be attacked with dust pan, paper towels, plastic bins; the caffeine crashes into laundry baskets and catboxes; the meandering to-do list jettisons anything that can’t be done while boiling water for noodles; syrupy afternoon sunlight zaps the window crystals and tosses rainbows on the ceiling while the kid sits under the table rhyming everything with poop, even things that don’t end with ‘oop’.
But night is pouring through the cracks and puddling at our feet, its time-nesia slipping into our veins and pulling the minutes long. We’ll all get lost in picture books at bedtime and toothbrush giggle-fits; once the kid is snoring softly under the covers we’ll miss him and talk about him expansively in the kitchen over a very nice beer; we’ll eat his cookies and put off emptying the dish washer, then watch too many episodes of The Magicians on Netflix; we’ll laugh til we snort in our sleep-deprived bedraggle about how much coffee we’ll need to function monday morning; we’ll stumble up the stairs to bed and burrow into the night’s hours that are all saggy-elastic pajamas.