I’ve been feeling drowsy and dreamy, writing love poetry. What got into me? Somehow, I’ve been nostalgic lately. I blame this book of poetry I’m writing. Together Apart–with a title like that, how could I keep from getting a little sentimental?
So when Paolo stopped by that evening, my heart was already wide open.
Combine my temporary poet’s heart with the man that Paolo is to me–that’s a sure recipe for melted ice cream. Sweet, sticky, and all over you.
Charlie came in while Paolo and I were cuddling on the couch. Actually, we were making out, but we toned it down with Charlie’s entrance.
Charlie didn’t seem embarrassed. I guess he’s used to it by now. Pao doesn’t come over all that often, but when he does, he and I usually end up together someplace, and Charlie and Berry walk around us, pretending we’re invisible.
“What is he making, nosso filho?” Paolo asked when Charlie remained in the kitchen.
I switched on a movie.
“I’m making spaghetti, Pai,” Charlie said. “Do you want some?”
Paolo and I watched the film while Charlie fixed supper.
I love these rare moments when we’re like every other family. Berry joined us for supper, and she and Paolo bantered, the way they do, with him trying to hook her up with every friend and cousin of his, and her dodging each attempt with more and more ridiculous come-backs. By the time I cleared the dishes, Berry was explaining that the true artist finds love within the soul–the soul of indigo and magenta, and so it is in the pigment where the true marriage takes place.
Once the conversation reaches that level, Paolo checks out mentally, and Berry wins every time.
After supper, Charlie went out to paint. I watched him from the porch. Sometimes this boy looks so sublime. I can always see his dad in him, and my dad, too, for that matter. And then there is the quality that is pure Charlie–this essence that no one else but our boy can express.
“What are you painting, Charlie?” I asked him.
“The subject matter is fish,” he said, “but it’s really one of those paintings about oneness and two-ness.”
His dad came out when Charlie was putting away his paints.
“You are looking like the athelete,” said Paolo. “You are working out, yes? It’s not all the painting and the cooking, right, meu filho?”
Paolo got on the treadmill. “Observe,” he said to Charlie, and he set the machine to a high setting.
“What are you doing?” I asked him.
“I am beating our son’s record,” Paolo answered. “The machine, she remembers the best score. Watch. Mine will be the best.”
Right then, I remembered why I was happy with our arrangement the way it was.
Charlie was inside watching a cooking show on TV. I thought for a moment what it might have been like if his dad had lived there. What would our boy be like living with that type of competition all the time?
I don’t think Berry would have stayed, if Paolo and I had gotten married. She can handle Paolo’s teasing for an evening, but if it were a constant, she’d be out of here.
And Charlie without Berry’s influence? I can’t imagine! She’s the one who’s nurtured his artist’s soul.
I felt a quick spurt of giddy happiness: look how it had all worked out! Just like that, my earlier nostalgia vanished. Thank you, reality, for helping me to check my romance on the shelf labeled “Great Myths of the World.”