For The Independent
They lay there in the bed like tangled blossoms. For a while they will lie still and quiet, and then they thrash about like willows in a storm. There is just no way to have any rest when they come over to stay.
They are not mine; they are her granddaughters. I guess they are my penitence for wanting one of my own. Mine will be coming in only 21⁄2 months.
When I call, they want to talk to me. When I pull into the driveway to drop something off, they must run out to me in their bare feet on the hot asphalt just to say hello. The little one looks up at me with big hazel flirting eyes and whispers betrayed secrets, suspicioned by me, but known only to her. She eats her food with no reckoning of manners, she eats ravenously and generously. There are some women and girls I love to watch eat, and she is one of them.
The oldest, most always speaks in collective terms. Things like “We like this,” “We want to go there” or “We don’t like her.” The little one just nods her head in agreement and goes along all the while sporting some ornery smile.
When they awake in the morning the first thing they want to do is to jump in the pond. I think they may sleep in their swim suits underneath their sleeping clothes. They will thrash about wearing their swimmies until you threaten them to come out of the water. They are mostly fearless. But at times you may well hear a shriek that comes across the pond as loud as thunder. “Something touched my leg” they will exclaim. Having swam in those waters for 40-plus years, I know it to be nothing more than a minnow being curious. They pull themselves upon the dock and then dive right back in. But, mostly when they are in the pond they just splash and laugh.
My sisters are much older, and I raised two sons, so I have no earthly idea how the minds of little girls work; they fascinate me. The oldest has talents that elude me. She dances in flowing movements, twirling, bending and jumping like some sort of wood nymph. The youngest is given more to athletics. She is tough and tumble and listens intently to the goings-on of the adults around her. She seemingly sees all and absorbs it for some future reference. I think she may have a crush on me.
Trouble is these little girls have had men, father figures, in and out of their lives. I worry about the damage abandonment has done to their delicate psyches and I do not wish to contribute. I have been around now for about 11⁄2 years. By default, I have garnered some level of responsibility, a responsibility I did not sign up for. I mean, I’m just dating their Nana. I mean we have a great time and all, we get to do some pretty neat things because we are a couple, but I do not take commitment lightly. I really don’t believe I am up for it again.
However, my life is more over than being started and these little girls have not yet begun to live theirs. Perhaps it is my lot in life to sacrifice my wants and needs to another, yet it is where I have mostly found any sort of wholesome happiness. So perhaps, I may take that step, but yet again maybe I can allow myself to enter into a period where I can allow my life to be about me.
I just don’t know. But I still want the best for those little girls.
JOHN CLARKE is a freelance writer from Boyd County. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.