Boom


We all scattered.

I have never quite moved so fast.

I scooped the boys, the shoes, the stuff, flung it in the stroller and hustled out of the park.

Yes.

I work in the overtly gentrified Mission, but folks, it’s still the fucking Mission.

It was too heavy a boom to be a gunshot, that sharp cracking sound that from afar sounds like “pop, pop, pop.”

No this sounded like a pipe bomb.

Not a muffler back firing.

What ever it was, it was enough to make almost all the nannies flee and a couple of the parents.

As I was on the phone to the dad a group of young teenage boys wheeled through the park.

That was enough for me, I didn’t need to know if it was a prank, a ball of firecrackers, or what, it was enough to motivate me to leave.

The Mission can be pretty and bucolic, but I have heard gunshots there, not so much of late, but they are there.

Plus, the whole guy going into the Mission police station and getting shot recently, I think the whole neighborhood has been just a tiny bit on edge.

I felt perhaps that I had over re-acted, but I am glad I reacted.

I err on the side of better safe than sorry.

I am a paid protector.

I am a nanny.

Hear me roar.

On occasion I roar at the other little beasties in the playground, because of the age range I am currently working with I have a bit more interaction with kids out of the toddler age and I see some bullies out there.

I won’t stand for it.

I keep myself to myself but if I see a kid push or hit or throw sand at my charges I intervene.

Yesterday there was a flock of poorly supervised kids and some of them were pushy with my boys and I bristled.

I admonished one group for flinging sand and retrieved some sand toys that had been misappropriated by the group.

I wanted to get all huffy and I had a moment of wonder at that.

Where were all the parents when I was playing?

I mean, I know where they were, they were doing what they do, but it sort of amazed me when I gave it a thought, I did not have the level of supervision the kids these days do.

I did not wear bicycle helmets, not that I do now, but every kid out there has a helmet on, for the bicycle, for the skateboard, for the scooter.

I don’t exactly disagree with these measures of safety, this is a far more urban landscape than the one I grew up in, but I am glad that I wasn’t so restricted in my movements when I was growing up.

There weren’t folks around telling us what to do or keeping an eye out.

There were not nannies where I grew up.

There were a few harried baby sitters in the neighborhood–I grew up in Section 8 housing on the North East side of Madison–and maybe a few teenage kids on the look out, but really not much supervision.

In fact, I was a baby sitter when I was in fifth grade.

I would not trust a child I dislike to a fifth grader.

Of course I was preternaturally inclined to be a care taker with my family dynamic being what it is, but still.

I also did  a lot of stuff that my mom might have had a heart attack if she had any idea.

Maybe that’s why I am a good nanny, I know the deal, I know what’s going down and I am hyper vigilant about the surroundings.

I realize that this means the majority of my life I have lived on high alert.

I don’t often relax.

I am a moving target.

It’s harder to hit a moving target you know.

As I get a bit older, somewhat wiser, and just a  little more honest with myself, I hope that I can let down that vigilance a notch.

Being newly coupled up I feel tender around this.

Like I may fuck things up by being myself.

Like I am that powerful, but that is where I go.

Better to over react by under reacting so that the bomb doesn’t explode in my face.

There is no bomb.

There is no shoe.

There is no spoon.

There is nothing there but the crazy making of an uncertain heart.

There are no problems.

Only opportunities to learn more about myself and be kind and gentle and forgiving and keep the focus on myself.

It doesn’t matter if it was a bomb.

I reacted like it was.

There’s a small town in my mind.

So I find myself opening up and inwards and outwards in moments like this, after I have tidied my place and set right the order and folded the laundry.

I reflect on the bicycle ride through the dark of the park and the sound of Lake Spreckles in my brain.

Doesn’t it sound like a great name for a root beer soda?

Spreckles Root beer.

And cherry cream soda and ginger brew.

Speckles Sparkles.

My brain rain ahead of me as the moon danced off the ripples of the lake, a bird rose up in the air, calling its heart out against the dark night and I was back on my bicycle instead of a soda shoppe on a date in the 1950s.

I breathed in the air and I could just catch the night-blooming magnolia on the other side of the water and my heart blew up.

There’s the bomb.

Know that true love exists,

the pain, the pain, the pain, of knowing that true love–

Exists.

It has nothing to do with whom I am with.

Or what job I do.

I love.

I got a lot of extra hugs from the boys tonight and I acknowledge that it was a rocky day, it was a scary moment and I needed those hugs and I needed that bike ride, and I need to remember that the memories of riding my bicycle by myself around the parking lot of the North Port Town Houses, are just as sweet through the patina of memory as the bicycle ride I take now.

I will always be riding by myself, although never really by myself.

On my bicycle.

Without a helmet on.

Because I can’t protect myself from life.

But I can stand still for the love bomb.

The shrapnel is not sharp.

It is just the kiss of air drifting on the buttery moon.

Over the frothy root beer foam of lake water at night.

Kiss kiss.

Bang bang.

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