The weekend went by in a whirl, my head still spinning to understand everything and its place and every detail of happiness that subtly slipped into my subconscious, filling me with warmth and wonder, like the first sip of whiskey on a cold November day.
And I know I must remember it all so I’ll start chronologically and work my way forward because the world is always moving forward and there’s no time for now, for the present, or certainly no time for yesterday. But I have to remember these moments for these moments are mere memories as soon as they happen, quickly moving into the back corners of my mind, sure to be forgotten and misunderstood with each passing minute. These moments are my life and my son’s and without the words in black and white they are shifty and transient and I must remember, to hold them as long as I can, to make these words and these memories immortal.
And off we go to Columbus for the weekend. I pick Ky up from daycare at 6 and we press on toward Columbus, stopping at first at Wendy’s for a brief dinner and then later, in Nelsonville, for Taco Bell. My conscious pricks at these dinners, but Ky was hungry and I had few alternatives. We sit down at the hard, muted tables in Taco Bell and Ky proceeds to ask me for the 12th time already that day about tornadoes and whether they were real and where they happened and would they ever come here.
I asked him why he wanted to know so much about tornadoes and he said he couldn’t get them out of his head. I tilted his head to one side and softly pounded on the top half, telling him, good, all the tornado business was now out, but he didn’t believe me and said it was still there. Sometimes the things we want to leave our memories aren’t going anywhere and sometimes the things we want to stay in our memories slip away like our youth.
Kyan then tells me about the plot for the new Transformers movie and I ask him not to tell me too much, because I might watch it still and he looks hurt and tells me, Daddy, I wanted to tell you. So he tells me how Optimus Prime died and came back to life and he later asks why his mommy and I didn’t name him after the Autobots leader. And I wonder if he, too, just needed to get this out.
We go to bed early that night and wake up the next morning for a bike ride to the farmer’s market, Ky in the bike carrier and my legs and lungs burning to pull us forward, down the next block and then the next, till finally we arrive at our destination.
We gather a few things for lunch and Ky pets every dog he passes and gets a free balloon from a car collision shop.
We go home, eat and head to my sister’s, where Ky will stay for part of the afternoon while Jess and I go to her tattoo appointment. Kyan and HeHe go to the pool and then back to her apartment and then sleep for a mid-afternoon nap.
Jess and I arrive shortly at the tattoo artist’s studio and we wait and look around at this arts collective’s warehouse and then Kat, the tattooist is here and we go to her studio and there are paintings on the wall, one of which is a large canvass of a dead guy, barechested, laid out in a field, blood splattered on his head and chest, a fly resting, nesting on his forehead.
This would appear ominous in any other setting but Kat is cute with dark hair and blue bangs swept to the side and she does her best to make Jess feel less nervous and I like her for this.
I think of Jess’ tattoo and how jealous I am of it and its meaning in her life. And I think of the tattoos I want and of how cute Jess is when she’s trying to be tough, flinching just slightly when the needle moves to the more sensitive parts of her arm and apologizing to me for squeezing my hand in those moments, as if she shouldn’t be feeling pain, or at least shouldn’t be transferring that pain to me.
A few hours later, we’re done, at least for the day, and we head back to my sister’s to get Ky, who spent the entire time we were gone asking when we would return because he was excited for the concerts we were going to that night.
So we get home and pack up and ride our bikes to the festival and park them at the bike valet and walk into a swarm of people, sweating and stinking of cigarettes and patchouli in patches , but otherwise just masses of people, moving down the walkways, swaying to the music. And it’s a little overwhelming, but I hold Kyan’s hand, maybe more for my own grounding than his.
We order our beer and food and find a spot to camp out for the evening, Kyan insisting on stopping to pet every puppy we see on the way. Each time, he walks up to the dog’s owner and asks politely to pet the doggie and the owner each time looks down at him with wide eyes and surprise and says of course you can, and my heart swells at this polite little boy I’m helping to raise.
And we listen to music and play with action figures and wrestle.
And then we make faces for the camera.
And then we play with Jess’ iPhone and Ky shows me how to use the drawing applicationand I think my lord, my son knows more about this piece of technology than I do and boy must I be old, but I know that we’re here, listening to music amid tattooed and pierced and bearded folks, and Kyan seems right at home and I think maybe I’m not so old after all and we head home late that night, Kyan thrilled to be up past his bedtime and we all three crash within minutes, it seems, of stepping inside the front door.
And then it’s Sunday, just like that, and we’re off to Whole World for vegan brunch and then off to the festival again and this time it’s less crowded and Kyan seems to enjoy the park more and we look at the fishies in the pond and take pictures of the lily pads.
And then he dances and dances some more and then it’s off to get his face painted and to tie-dye T-shirts and to listen to more music.
And then the day’s winding up and we head home and Jess and I sleep for a few minutes before packing up my car and then we’re off and my head feels drugged, like I’ve been sick and doped up on Benadryl.
And then we’re home, and it’s home but it feels so far away from home and I listen to the Elected and he’s singing that he’s not going home because he’s already there. And he’s singing that sometimes you can’t go home, sometimes you’re already there. He’s singing When I look at you, I’m there.
And I’m feeling this song and I’m thinking of moving back into the blue house from my dad’s and I’m a little stressed about the move and I’m then thinking of how I’m missing the whirlwind in Columbus, because, at least for those moments, it feels like home.
And then I pull down a Hemingway book, this one called “A Moveable Feast,” from my bookshelf and I think of its implications on my life and I read a little and then, like Jess says, I feel like I could sleep for two days and I turn out the light and I dream the whole night through.
Yes, these are the days we dream of.