I don’t want to be younger but I wish I had this moment back. I think she might have been untangling fish line but I don’t know for sure.
I loved this little girl. A lot has happened since it was the two of us but I remember how much I loved her. I wanted to bring her to this cabin on a lake where I’d gone so many times with my parents. I wanted us to be where we could go row a boat, where we could swim and then throw our wet towels over a clothesline. I wanted her to see fireflies and hear the screen door slam, sit on the screened-in porch and watch the lake get dark. So we went there, my first long trip as a single mom, and it was perfect, a time that glowed.
Then I let a friend in need come to stay with us. She brought her daughter. The quiet time was full of talk, my friend’s lamenting and her daughter’s demands. All the furniture in our temporary utopia was rearranged to please the guests. It became my priority, my made-up obligation to a friend to provide her with shelter and a caring ear. And so that meant leaving the rowboat on the shore.
Before long, what was special about being at the cabin evaporated. Every now and then, my little girl would look over at me with a yearning in her eyes that said I liked it when it was just us on the porch. I saw what she was saying, but I tucked it somewhere. We were alone together all the time, I thought, every day, up in the morning for school, home at night for dinner. We lived in each other’s pockets.
But we weren’t alone together at the cabin after my friend and her daughter came. We were never alone together in the cabin again. And now the cabin is gone, razed to make way for a rich family’s house. And the little girl is grown, a mother, a busy woman. There are other joys in life now and many of them are with her.
But what I said is really true: I don’t want to be younger but I wish I had this moment back.