I don’t like to get all sappy up in here, I prefer to keep the gooey emotions where they belong, namely, the corner of my closet where I eat my cupcakes; but I’m about to start my period, and I watched The Blind Side last night soooo…okay, I’ll be quick.
There was a swamp around my parents house. It was deep and dark, the water painted in bright green duck weed, paper white trees tossed about because the ground was too wet and tired to hold them up.
I think I spent my whole entire childhood down there, either digging for crayfish or hiding in a cave of tree roots writing in my diary. I wasn’t poor or fat or weird down there, I just was, so until I discovered boys and Wet n’ Wild eyeliner, that’s where you’d have found me from ages three to nine.
Around the time I entered junior high, a storm came through bringing a tree down that blocked the water where it ran under the street, flooding the swamp under over twelve feet of water.
And flooded it stayed.
A few months ago, my dad decided to finally pay to have the swamp drained, and I drove over there every day hoping to see some resemblance of the magical place I bore the shit out of Andy with stories about re-emerge, but it didn’t. What was left was black mud, mosquitoes and the smell of old rotting death.
My kids would never get to experience being knee deep in mud, chasing after dragonflies and running across tree bridges.
Weeks passed, rains came through washing the filth and smell away, and suddenly my wonderland was back.
This weekend Andy loaded up the truck with his helicopters and fancy equipment that I am never allowed to touch, and took Jude and I over to, as he put it, “do a couple test flights with some new harness robot blahhhhh brain melt in the swamp.”
It was amazing being down there, at least 10 degrees cooler than the world above us. Jude and I mostly played in the water and climbed things, which is way harder with boobs, by the way. Andy was busy doing…whatever nerdy thing that he does all day, and after an hour or so, we piled back into the truck.
I smiled the whole drive home, feeling all happy and Lion King Circle of Lifey, and then Jude and I napped for about a hundred hours.
When I woke up, it was past dinner time, the kids and Andy were camped out in the living room eating cold pizza and watching Back to the Future.
When Andy saw me in the kitchen standing in front of the fridge feeling pukey, which always happens to me when I nap too long, he pulled me into the office to show me a surprise… which I assume meant I’d have to go down on him for letting me nap undisturbed for four hours.
He had made me a video with his helicopter. Picked out the music himself. When I realized what it was, I looked up at at him from the chair to see him staring at the screen, and for the very first time, I noticed the tiniest of wrinkles around the corners of his eyes. I’d never seen them there before.
He is a man, and I think sometimes I forget to see him that way, instead lumping him into a pile of dad and scruffy guy who buys me Cathy cards on my birthday.
A wonderful wrinkly eyed man who made me wonderland.