by Lindsey Lucas
I go shopping again so I can put my money where my mouth is, where my feet are, where my blood and my lymph nodes and nervous system are. Because my troublesome heart flies over cornfields and mountain ranges and deserts to Lake Shasta to watch a nineteen year old you that hasn’t met me yet waterski with your brothers. My dichotomous heart that loves my children to distraction but does not belong to them sails up the McCloud arm of the lake and hovers at the surface, dodging craneflies and ducking below just as you whizz past, oblivious to my pounding, gulping, drowning. Shadows from the boat and the wake from your rooster tail zig zag across the sun’s rays that cut through the murky green water and me as I sink down to the bottom where your grandfather’s dog tags are, dropped by your little brother that day the lake shattered from glass into shards as the clouds rolled in too quickly. The fingers of my heart sift through the silt until I find them. I trace the name that has been passed down, shared with your father, with you and your brothers, with their kids too. The name that I wanted but never did take. “This one too, mama?” my three year old asks. “Yes baby, that too,” I reply, and my eyes that can’t see you blink uselessly as my hand, too far from you, takes what he’s holding and drops it in the cart. I steer him and his brother up to the checkout and buy more, ever more, to keep redecorating our house. I sign the credit card slip with a name you have never known and hand the pen back to the saleslady. We load up the car and go home to the house where we live, but you don’t, and where I never scold my husband for leaving his socks on the floor or forgetting to unload the dishwasher.
Lindsey Lucas is an optometrist and writer who lives in Kentucky with her husband and two kids, but she wants you to know that she grew up in Las Vegas. She has a PhD in molecular biology that she doesn’t use anymore, and she loves walking her dog and playing the piano, though usually not at the same time.