Somehow again this year, I missed the moment when the air got soft and the leaves and flowers came. People are standing outside looking pasty and startled. There are daffodills. There are free parking spaces with no snow or debris in them. There are kids on bikes, so be careful.
Today in front of my building I heard two men talking earestly about how one of them has a girl who says he has the inability to commit. "It is like there are peices of me left behind in other relationships," he said. "I have to get them all back before I can give her what she needs." I evesdropped shamelessly as I unloaded my groceries. I am sure that they didn't notice me at all. I am the plump white woman with the brown dog. They know I live nearby. I smile at them, wave sometimes. Sometimes they help me carry heavy things from the car. Funny how we see the same faces and never get the names. These men live nearby. They spend a lot of time at the barbershop under the other half of our building. The barbershop seems to function as a social club for the men on our block. They sit inside, or stand outside and talk and talk, they laugh a lot.
Dreadful gossips you would say, if they were women. Why do we not say it of men? In Marlowe's time a 'gossip' was a family friend. It was a godparent, or the sort of neighbor who was a help. These men are that kind. They are the kind of men who would loan you an extention ladder if you aked.Back then it was more specifically In women the ones who attended the birth of a child. Mrs Marlowe and Mrs Shakespeaare would have depended on their gossips to be there for the birth of those two little guys. And they would have fed and watched small Will and Kit, for the birth of subsequent siblings. Did some older women take the little boys for the day? Was there talk of 'soon you will have a new brother or sister? Was there gingerbread? I hope so. Were the little boiys too young to know that their mother was doing something terribly dangerous? Were they small enough that the dice-roll of childbirth was beyond them. Maybe the first time. Both Will and Kit ended up being the oldest. But both had had older sisters that died in babyhood. (Both were little girls, and both named Mary. The early moderns made do with about 10 names it seems. It must have been confusing with everyone you knew named Tom, John, Anne or Mary. It makes them hard to write about too.)
We have all been busy this week, rushing in all directions. But there has been time to notice the lingering light, the smell of salt in the evening when the wind changes, the birds in the dawn when everyone is asleep but me and Hazel. Happiness to make the throat ache.
And how are all of you? I have missed you all.