Posted by: jeannineatkins | November 24, 2007

Day After

Most of the dishes are washed and leftover turkey, cranberry-mango sauce (my husband’s contribution), chick peas, and pumpkin pie are in the fridge. The yellow tulips my neighbor Mary brought in memory of our dog, the good twelve and half year old lab who didn’t quite make it to the holiday, are open like stars, and a few petals starting to fall. I spent the morning writing, just peeking at my sleeping girl now and then. As the day got later, the threats of going shopping got dimmer. Good.

It was just past my lunchtime when Em got in the shower while her cousin and I walked our two not-so-lonely dogs. R told me a bit about her job and the writing class she’s taking on Saturdays. “Noon sounded good when I signed up, but by the time I take the subway there, well, I might see if there’s a later class.” She told me she is learning about plot and character, things her college classes sort of skipped in favor of more esoteric.

The girls met two of Em’s friends to stuff themselves with Indian food for supper. Not long after 9 I went to bed, reading Yagoda’s The Sound on the Page and musing about John Edgar Wideman saying something like a writer’s most authentic voice is based in the language learned when you first learn to feel, whether that was while being rocked by your mother, or in the neighborhood or street or after childhood. I clicked off the light, pulled up the covers, switched the light back on as I heard the front door open then fast footsteps on the stairs. I was tying on my bathrobe when Em’s pal Zach burst into the bedroom and hugged me. Nell sprang in next. Em stood by, beaming in her red winter coat. All those bright faces in the middle of the night (okay, 9:30). I felt all the possibility and joy in those faces brought back from almost a first semester of college – what an accomplishment! How worldly they seem, even while I’m flashing back to years gone by.

Then Em checked her text messages and they were off again, like the old days, to see who they might or not might not meet.



  1. Oh where do I begin? This is such gorgeous, feeling writing, Jeannine.
    I want to cuddle into your house and watch life swirl around me.
    There are days I long for the adventure of a life ahead, a book of blank, unlined pages yet to be written. But the unknown is often wreaked with chaos. Right now, I could use all the cups of solitude and quiet contentment I can sip.
    Your words make growing up growing into the role of The Mom rather inviting. I’m not done finding what I want. Not by a long-shot. But I’m enchanted by viewing the process and the quest of my own daughters, trying to help yet not wanting to tug on the leash. {}
    -Pamela, sealed with a hug to mourn the loss of your dog {{{{}}}

  2. You made me smile!

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