Something from June

February 22, 2012

It was indulgent, to sit there pulling apart lobsters in front of everyone, right in the middle of Chelsea Market. I nearly drew blood, strong arming open the claws where they weren’t sufficiently cracked. It was something only a mother and daughter could do, sitting with a giant stack of paper napkins, licking our fingers, letting the shells build up on our plates.

These are good, but it’s not like in Maine, my mother said to me, grinning. My face looks more and more like hers every day, I think. Especially with lipstick. I think my mother is beautiful and I hope to look like her when I’m her age. I find myself slipping into her patterns. I ask the questions that she used to ask me as a kid, the ones I found so infuriating. I had no idea in the morning what I wanted to eat for dinner that night and I certainly didn’t want to choose for my brothers, and yet here I am, asking those same questions.

Licking the last of the butter off of our fingers they smell briny. It’s the most delicious ocean smell and despite the squeeze of lemon juice across our palms (our hands are the same size and I forget to do this, but she remembers and shares her other slice of the bright yellow citrus with me so I can do the same. The acid stings the small cuts from where the lobster’s spikes had put up their last bit of defense). Between the lemon juice and the wet towelettes we manage to get ourselves cleanish and we wipe off the table and then both gravitate toward rhubarb popsicles and in fact she has two. It’s not ice cream, she rationalizes.

We leave the market, a little giggly at what we have done without the men around. Lobsters in the middle of the day! Not in Montauk or Maine, or even on vacation when we’re supposed to be indulgent, but in the middle of an ordinary Sunday in the summer in the middle of an upscale food market. Outside it’s turned cool from the morning’s sunshine, cloudy with a kicked up wind off the Hudson.

As we chat I realize that she makes the same conversational mistakes that I do, interrupting a flow of thought to point out a spiky purple plant, or the underside of a leaf that she has never seen before. She necessitates a pause, mid confession to ask about a building or a store. When we do it together it’s better, because we are the same.

The remnants of industry hulk to our right as new glassy towers perch to the left (we were on the Highline) and we talk about weddings and Vermont. My dad had mentioned that six o’clock time of day where the sun drops just a bit and the light slides sideways like a wry glance and the only thing to do is curl up on the bench and read a book, or grab a glass of rose and look out, or better, yet, go let the grass tickle the bottoms of your feet. Joan Didion calls in Blue Nights. It’s there. It’s that time just before dinner, after the shower. It’s after the day ends, all the business running and biking and moving around and making things and chasing things and then the day quiets like breath slowing. The air sighs, inhales and exhales and stretches a bit before it settles into the nighttime.

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One Response to “Something from June”

  1. karen said

    Hi Brooke
    Just a few words to congratulate you on your beautiful and touching writing, with this post you managed to make me feel as if i was there ,having lunch at Chelsea Market with you and your mom(send my love to her please)…what an amazing writer you’ve became!
    Beijos daqui do Brasil para você
    Karen

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