It was the day before the wedding. Half the appliances had broken. Half my room-mates were getting stressed and forgetting to take care of themselves. And the fridge was glitched. And this was the day when we had invited over Elder’s family and Uncle Jacob.
I spent the morning fixing three computers, two sinks, and one tub, and tending the garden. Elder cleaned house. We both reminded Tani and Gray to eat and Alex to get some sleep. I grilled up a batch of veggie burgers, and then everyone came over.
It really felt like Norman Rockwell–a big old house full of family!
While we were gathering at the kitchen table, Cooper said, “I’ve brought something to share with you, Cathy Tea.”
She pulled out a stack of old photos from Elder’s childhood.
Elder laughed and laughed at the first one.
“That was the day we aged up and cut school!” he said.
I just had to laugh at the next one. “You still dance like that!” I said.
“Hey! I was practicing to be a hippie!” Elder laughed. “See? Even then I knew I wanted to live in a big house with a bunch of hippies!”
Easter and Cooper seemed to have as much fun reliving Elder’s childhood as he did.
“Elder was always walking around half-naked pondering the mysteries of the universe,” said Cooper as she passed around the next photo.
Even there, I thought he looked like a little baby Adonis.
“What were you thinking about?” I asked.
“I was thinking about whether the universe had tentacles, and if so, if it could reach out with its tentacles to grab disparate parts of matter that needed to belong in the same sphere and then bring them to the same place and the same time.”
We looked at the next photo.
“I remember this conversation! I was trying to explain to Ede about other places where life could exist. She was saying that there was no other life elsewhere, and I was trying to explain the Landgraab/ELP/Bilmonaghan theory that every star we see is another hard drive and on it are clusters of games of life, just like ours. She even got out her computer to look up refuting evidence, but I would have none of it!”
“I remember that conversation” Easter said. “I thought that you made perfect sense! I still think every star is another player’s hard drive.”
“I don’t know why Dia took this next one,” Cooper said. “It was just one of those random Elder moments.”
“What on earth were you laughing at?” I asked Elder.
“I had just discovered that there’s no such thing as ‘random,'” he said. “Even the most chaotic event can seem to have a pattern. I’d just knocked over those chess pieces, and then, looking at how they lay, I noticed that the symmetry of their pattern matched that of the plaque on the wall. It was that whole fractal thing–patterns repeating themselves throughout matter and form.”
“You can choose any of those other photos to keep,” Cooper said, “But this one, I’m keeping.” She passed it down towards me.
There he was, all sweet and sparkly, just born, looking up at his mom with such love, as she gazed down at him with a mother’s devotion.
No wonder he is a miracle of a man. He grew up in the center of love from his mom, his sisters, his dad, beloved by his player. If there’s one sure way to raise a man who can love a woman, that’s the way.
As we were getting ready for bed, I thought back on all I’d learned about him as a child. I laughed. “You’re kinda weird and quirky,” I said.
“You’re just now realizing that?” he laughed back. “Babe, it takes some kinda weird and quirky guy to fall for you like I have. A little quirkiness helps when it comes to understanding a funny girl in an animal hat with all these deep thoughts and all these little confusions.”
“I couldn’t believe how you could remember everything! Even what you were thinking. Do you remember being a baby?” I asked him.
He took one of his Elder moments and concentrated.
“I remember nursing,” he said. “I remember the sweetness of breast milk. I remember lying in my bassinet when Ede would come and make me laugh, and I remember what it felt like when laughter shook my whole body. I remember what it felt like to be cradled in my dad’s arms and how I felt inside.”
“How did you feel inside?” I asked.
“It was the same feeling I felt the first time I walked into this big house of yours filled with all your hippie friends,” he said. “It’s that same way I feel whenever I’m with you.”
All this love! All this love that just comes rushing and flowing, through all of us, like it’s the natural air that we breathe, and like it flows from our source and it is our source. Loving Elder, I feel myself loving through the generations, back to his dad, his grandad, and back on down the line, and I feel our love spreading out like a delta to all those that are in our lives now, and then I feel it flowing into the future, to who knows where. This is Ace-of-Cups love, the source of life.
Elder’s baby photos courtesy of his fairy god-mother, FloorRaisin. Thank you, Raisin!