The Slow-Cooked Sentence

Three on Mother’s Day

Rachael Conlin Levy

It was two o’clock in the afternoon when I drove past a fellow mother asleep in the passenger seat of her maroon minivan, the window half down. Her head tilted back and her mouth was slack. In the seconds it took to pass, I saw smooth skin, dark hair. Even as the harbingers of age grew in the carseats behind her, even as her husband bent over his phone as he waited for his family to wake, I noted her youth. And her exhaustion.

Two hours passed, and I trailed my children up a park path. I heard creek water, song birds, and the approaching crunch of stroller wheel against gravel. I glanced into the folds of blanket as the stroller passed, noted the vacancy, and looked at the young father who pushed it. There I found the baby (a girl, a guess, because of the wrap’s unforgiving neon pink) hugged against torn black, leather and metal grommet. Behind him walked the mother, also in black, leather and steel. I did not look at her face, but at her hands, open, empty, and that she walked, unburdened.

Afterward, I ate a meal made by another, and helped in its clean-up. Sunset approached, yet an energy remained that had outlasted our work (which ended quickly because there were many of us, and because the music was loud). So we danced, my children and I. Our awkward moves amused and delighted us as we took turns choosing songs. Their selections interested me, hinted of things neither they nor I could or would put into words. But I did not dwell in this thought. Instead, I danced on, until I was sweaty and breathless, tired and free.

One response to “Three on Mother’s Day”

  1. Denise says:

    I suppose we needn’t put everything into words, but I’m happy to read what you’ve decided to share here, and to know you danced until sweaty and breathless, tired and free. Beautiful.

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