The note your ten-year-old writes you because she heard you crying in the bathtub.
“Mommy, we love you very much. Who wouldn’t?”
The way she comes in while you’re laying there in three inches of hot water; depleted, exhausted, alone, and how she tacks her little note onto the tile across from where you lay so you can see it.
“Mommy, we love you very much. Who wouldn’t?”
The way your skin feels right after the bath; smooth and velvety and warm.
The peace of being alone in the house because your husband has taken the children out for a bike ride, and how you sit on the porch with your summer skirt on and light up that cigarette. How glad you are that you saved this little bit of tobacco for a moment like this.
The big, tall, magnificent trees in your yard and the way they move in the wind. The sound of the wind.
The peace of being alone; everything is going to be alright, you tell yourself. You’re going to be alright.
Wondering if you could fall in love with your husband again. The possibility that the love you seek is right here, at home, with him.
The quiet beauty of your ramshackle home at the end of the road, a home with no one in it except you and the dog.
The way you leave the front door open for the wind. How you need the wind to keep you moving, especially now.
How after the cry, and the bath, and your late afternoon glass of wine, you feel capable again. Strong. Ready. Right. You can mother, you can love. You are standing.
How when your ten-year-old asks you what’s wrong and you say, “I’m just sad,” and she says, “about daddy?” and you say, “no, not exactly,” and how she asks if you’re mad at him, and you say “a little, but it’s not about daddy, it’s about me.” Then how she says that the two of you will talk about it later, and how you see in her eyes how excruciating it is for her to see you upset and to not understand what’s wrong.
And how impossible it would be to explain everything to her.
And the gratitude you have for her even though you wonder if this is okay for a young girl to comfort her mother like this, again, and again.
Because you don’t know.
But here you are standing, and you can love. And that’s all you know for sure right now.