The pandemic is over. Sheltering in place is done. We are gathering again. In great festive groups. While I love being amongst people I love again, I grew to love the simplest ways of being together.
Be with me
All you have to do is breathe
Yawn if you want
Laugh, giggle, snort
Any expurgation of breath is welcome
Even a sob
No party clothes needed
No special event
No clothes even
Imagine a small eddy of clear water
Or tide pool on a summer evening
Warm light everywhere
That’s what it will feel like
I stared at this prompt for quite a while. At first I wandered around trying to find some link between shoes and hats that fit. Nope. Then I thought about the Kentucky Derby for a while hoping for a hat tale. Then this memory floated to the surface.
THE HAT THAT FITS
We knew the minute we walked in the store, we weren’t going to buy one.
We were, however, going to try every one of them on.
And take pictures of each other in each one.
We became the hat
Just plain cool
For a pose and a click
Until the owner lost her hat over our antics and threw us out of the store.
That’s the trouble with hats
You can go from cool girl to bad girl
The hat no longer fits
It’s late. Hence, the haiku
Swell, pinch, maybe clog
The thing that beats inside us
Never really breaks
I swear I have no memory of writing this prompt on the index card: “Tell us your name, your real name and all the names that were never truly yours” But it sure was fun to spin out. Each one of those names is a poem, a story. As for which ones were real and which ones were never truly mine, I claim them all. I answer to all of them.
Lucille: The name my parents’ friends gave me in utero when they were trying thinking of another of a girl name starting with L because all my sisters’ names started with L
Lindsey: My given name and chosen by my parents when they met a British family who named their daughter Lindsay.
Lindsey Cummings (Down The) Lane: A way for me to remember my full name when I was five.
Lindsey, -ey: Said to distinguish from Lindsay, -ay
Linsey-woolsey: The name Mr. Lamb called me when I went into his store to buy Bazooka bubble gum and fire balls. In case you’re wondering, it is a coarse, sturdy fabric
Lindsley: A mispronunciation
Lindy: Another mispronunciation
Jill: A name I chose for a while because it was a movie star’s name and no movie stars were named Lindsey
LC Lane: Because LC sounded like Elsie
Lane: A school name that didn’t stick because of the aforementioned sisters.
Linseed Oil: The school name that stuck
Lulu: The name I give on to go orders to avoid mispronunciations. It’s shorter to write and it’s fun to say.
Lindsey Lou: Used by a dear friend in Georgia, always with a giggle.
LindseyLouWho: Discovered and used after meeting CindyLouWho in THE GRINCH WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS
Lindsey Acosta Lane: The briefly married name
Mommmmmm: usually expressed in text when my daughter can’t reach me
Momma: The way she spells when writing me a note
L2: The name I use to shorten my signature in the digital world
Linds’: Usually used in the most tender form of address.
So when I pulled the prompt this morning, nothing sparked. And then time collapsed into one thing after another. I noodled on it once or twice but really, I let myself drift in the flow of book writing friends from all over the country here for the TLA conference. It was gorgeous. Rich in connections and laughter and truth-telling. So now it is the end of the day and, yes, I’m a tiny bit tired but really, today the prompt is the poem. I can’t improve on it.
As it is.