Sunday, May 4, 2014

a moment in the day: decision

I'm driving Stephen to work, and we're making a decision, even though we're not saying so. Noni's funeral in Arlington. Maybe I made my decision earlier, sitting in front of the computer, looking at prices for flights, doing the theoretical math in my head of airfare plus hotel plus transportation plus eating out plus eating out, but a decision isn't really a decision until you say it out loud.

Stephen and I drive in silence under pink and white blossom trees. Once when I was a kid, visiting Noni and Coco in Virginia, we went to Winchester for their famous Apple Blossom Festival. Beautiful old, Colonial buildings and block after block of flowering trees. That's all I remember from that time. That, and the continuing notion that all things lovely and exotic could happen in the company of Noni and Coco.

My memory of that time - and all those wonderful childhood times - is more like a picture postcard than a movie in my head, now. A picture of a moment. Or rather, it's just a picture of a picture of a picture of a moment, and even though I know that every time you remember something, you're only remembering the last memory of the memory before it, I make my memory take another picture of Noni and Coco and all those flowers, for safe keeping.

It's not really just about Noni, of course. Going out for the funeral would be a chance to be with these people I rarely see - Mom and Dad, aunts and uncles, cousins. A decision isn't really a decision until you say it out loud, and so, driving under the pink and white blossom trees, I make my decision: I'm going to let Stephen say it.

He gives a little sigh. "I guess people who are maybe thinking about buying a house should be careful with their money."

I just say, "Yeah."

We pull up at the curb and I let him out. I tell him to have a good day. I head to the grocery store.

On the radio, the classical station is playing that show where they examine the music of the cinema, and today's topic is leitmotif. Recurring musical phrases that embody certain characters or themes in a film (or opera, for that matter). They're playing a piece from Star Wars. An ominous repeat of a single note, then a trio of notes - big John Williams orchestra with the march of an Imperial army underneath. Darth Vader's theme. Just the thought of the great battle of the Rebel forces against the evil Galactic Empire makes me start to cry.

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