As I suspected, the rest of my stay with Britta was wonderful. We crammed a whole lotta fun into what was far too short of time together. Among the high-light reel was an excursion to Napa Valley. Given my love affair with wine, I know you can appreciate how much your Momma enjoyed her stay in Napa. We also had a surprise visit from LC, who flew up to the Bay for a day trip. And, we spent time with brother Eric too. In honor of our 20 year anniversary – we had a throw back night. It was complete with throw back drinks: Captain & Coke for Britta, Tanquery & Tonic for Momma. (I don’t need to do that part again for another 20 years.) In between the notable events we shopped, swam, dined, danced, talked, planned, and laughed…and then, laughed some more.
On the 4th of July, Britta and I went to her friends’ pool. Ironically, they were on vacation in Wisconsin. So we had the whole (huge ass) house, guest house, and pool to ourselves. At one point Britta got Momma laughing so hard, I almost went under. I would have been okay with it; but knowing Britta would’ve insisted on reviving me, I flailed all about to get to the side, hoisted myself up, and continued to laugh even harder. Britta is one of the funniest people I know. She says her quick wit is both her blessing and her curse. I only see the blessing part. She says, “Tell my mom that…she always tells me my smart mouth is what’ll ruin me.” Just when I was positive all my laugh was used up, Britta did a running, off-the-diving-board, full on, cannonball. To seal it with a crazy stamp she screamed, “Cannonball!” as.loud.as.she.could. Sometimes I think Britta does crazy shit just to make my laugh come out. And it works. It always works.
After a beautiful day at the pool, we went back to Britta’s house. While she made dinner, a far more serious conversation ensued. It was the kind of conversation I don’t have with anyone anymore. There are very few people, and even fewer times, I allow myself to talk about the things that travel about the chambers my heart and through the valleys of my soul. I just cannot do it anymore. Talking about those things, makes me fall to pieces. When I fall to pieces, it takes a whole lot of time and even more energy to put those pieces back together. In turn, I stay “apart”…for far too long. So it works better if I just keep those things inside and carefully step around them as attempt to execute my day to day activities as I pretend to be a functioning member of society. Alas, Britta got me to tell her just enough, about just enough, to release a tiny bit of pain from my pent up, pressure-cooker soul.
Just when I was going to say something about the “other” anxiety which had been churning inside my tummy from the moment the sun came up, Britta seemingly read my mind and matter-of-factly said, “I know you don’t want to watch the fireworks tonight. We aren’t going to. I would never make you do such a thing. Besides, the only reason I ever liked fireworks is because you love them so much. Everytime I see fireworks, I think, “Danna would really loooove these fireworks.” But, I know you can’t watch them. In fact, I don’t think you’ll ever be able to watch them again. And, I don’t blame you – not at all.” Just like that, Momma exhaled for the first time all day.
Everyone who knows me, knows that the 4th of July is my second favorite holiday. It falls just a hint behind, but damn near parallel with, Christmas. One of the main reasons I love the 4th of July is because of the fireworks. Momma has loved fireworks her whole, entire, super long life. In fact, I love fireworks just as much as I love white Christmas lights. The sight of both of these magical wonders make my heart swell with so much happy that my body fills with chill-bumps – my eyes, with tears.
I was dreading the fireworks, Paxton. I was dreading them because…I just was. I can’t begin to explain it all, and I don’t need to – because I know you get it too. After dinner, Britta closed up her house tighter than a drum and turned off all the lights. We wrapped ourselves in blankets and sat in tandem in her safe, secure, firework-free home. In lieu of firework fanfare, and the visceral reaction it would have invoked in your Momma’s sad and lonely soul – we watched “Pitch Perfect” and drank champagne.
As I said, Britta & I embarked on many adventures in our short time together. In doing so, we created a host of new memories and recounted 20 years of “stories of old” to boot. The most special thing, however, was what we didn’t do. Being spared from fireworks without having to utter a single word…moreso, free from judgment or attempts to sway my feelings on the matter…was truly the greatest thing I didn’t do the entire month.
Britta may be right. I may never be able to watch fireworks again. But if I ever do, I promise I’ll call out the best ones especially for you. I will say, “Diddy, here comes a good one…this is yours!” I will imagine you and I sitting together on a blanket, under a tree that is “just right’, our heads titled into the sky in anticipation. I will picture you pointing to the magical array of colors as they decorate the backdrop of the night’s sky. I will envision the wonder in your eyes and imagine the excitement in your voice. When the vibrations of the BOOMS! resonate through your tiny bones, I will know you are not afraid…for your precious head will be propped soundly against my chest and your little dupa tucked safely on top of my lap.
I miss you, I love you. Baby, you’re my firework.
Stay with me, Sweet Boy.