California

Overheard

On my walk today. Two things.

1. A pair of old ladies, white hair cut in the style I only see on old ladies and nine-year-old boys, matching white sneakers on their feet, sat facing each other across a small table under a faded umbrella at the coffee shop. This choice of seat on this sweltering day–the only shaded seat on the small patio–was as sensible as their hair and shoes. The one with her back to me read poetry out loud to her partner in that lilting, almost questioning voice that signals poetry is being read. The tone of voice that acknowledges that words are tricky beasts and skitter away at the speaking. The tone of voice that accepts this fact and still reads on because beauty and truth are found in the shifting patterns of language.

At the last word, they sat in silence.

2. Behind a living and impenetrable wall of bamboo, a small girl calls out, “Do it, Daddy. Spray the water!” “Yes, do it, Daddy.” A woman’s voice echoes in a tone that means so much more than we-are-out-here-playing-with-our-daughter. In the woman’s voice is a message just for the man:

I love you in this moment and all the others.

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