My minds hand tugs at the line between now and then, one hand feeds the other and I watch as the past moves into view.
It was a rainy autumn day.
Even now I can feel the fluttering beat of my heart as it kept time with the windshield wipers. The road ahead –like me– disappearing, reappearing with the pass of each swipe.
Do not ever expect me to be the sort of Grandmother who longs to play surrogate, I had five children of my own and have zero interest in the raising of yours.”
What had been a conversation between my mother and me had ended. The words hung between us as if strung out on a clothesline. Her usual breathy tone had turned metallic over the mere thought of caring for children years away from being born.
I see her. The girl I was. Wishing she were anywhere other than in that car. With eyes locked on the side view mirror, the future she had conjured, frame by frame, blowing down the road with the wind.
All these years later I wonder about the conversation before the conversation. Was it fear that laced my mother’s words? Did she worry I would become pregnant as a teen?
I have no idea.
Now I reach for that day, a moment clothes-pinned to the endless chord of memory, pull it to me, unclip it and replace it with another, then watch as the new image, my mother with my three children, drifts back in time. Then, with a hearty tug, I guide the line all the way back to present day.