This weekend we, in the wake of Arlo's birthday, wove time, memory, and people together, making life feel less linear and far more beautifully tangled.
Joanna, my friend of fourteen years rented a car and drove down from Brooklyn with her terribly dapper fiancé to see Sena perform in the very same play with the very same theater company as I used to with my dad and sisters back when the Twin Beach Players operated out of local pubs and was the sole artistic pursuit of many a bar fly.
Also in attendance at that night's performance were two of my former high school students who, now in their early twenties, have become friends to me and my children.
Much later that night we stood in the kitchen while my brother-in-law shucked us clams. My brother-in-law, who Joanna and I first knew as the handsome rugby player who came into parties like a charming tornado, sloppily kissing the cheeks of all the girls in sight and only much later became my sister's husband and will soon be the father of my newest niece or nephew.
We spent Friday afternoon peeking around North Beach, feeding Arlo a cookie as big as his head before nervously walking in and out of antique stores that were never particularly welcoming of children. When I was eight and nine, I would walk from my grandma's house to this same corner with money saved from chores to buy my mom or grandmother any stray pieces of Depression glass that Dale, the owner, might have for sale. Pink for grandma. Green for my mom. Despite the grumpy owner, the crowded treasure trove lures me in from time to time, even if the price tags scare me back away.
As a child, my mom would point out places and buildings and tell us about what they once were. "That's where the IGA used to be, " she would tell us. "And that was the five-and-dime." Having no past of my own, I cared little about the former lives of the aged building we passed on out way to ice cream cones. After meeting old friends on the street, she would explain "Oh that's Linda Wilkerson. She used to be Linda Able, but she went back to her maiden name after she got divorced." I didn't understand then the need to remember all the lives one single person inhabits. The need to remember each reiteration of the person who snakes in and out of your own narrative. Clearly now, as I feel the need to relive every past bagel eaten with my dearest friend, I do understand. Oh, how I understand.