My uncle Max was a mountain, a shooting star, a big bear of a man, a piggyback ride waiting to happen, his pockets full of candy and, later money, or whatever the particular currency of our ages happened to be. He was rock concerts, baseball games, he was yes when my parents were no, he was a consolation for every disappointment.
He stops and turns to me. 'Do you think people would stare if I threw you over my shoulder? Because I really want to do that. Then I can ogle your ass and just run.' The look in his eye is a little manic. For a second, I think he's going to do it. Then he spies the heavily armed security officer a few feet away. 'Excuse me, sir?' he says, and the guard looks at him. 'Would it be acceptable to carry my girlfriend like a sack of potatoes in order to get out of here quicker and make sweet love to her?' The guard's mouth moves, but he resists smiling. 'No, sir, that would not be acceptable.' 'Piggyback?' 'Nope.' 'Put her on a trolley?' 'No.' 'You're no fun.' 'So my wife keeps telling me.
There are so many things I want to tell her, so many things she doesn't know; like how I remember when she first came home from the hospital, a big pink blob with a perma-smile, and she used to fall asleep while grabbing on to my pinter finger; how I sued to give her piggyback rides up and down the beach on Cape Cod, and she would tub on my ponytail to direct me one way or the other; how soft and furry her head was when she was first born; that the first time you kiss someone you'll be nervous, and it will be weird, and it won't be as good as you want it to be, and that's okay; how you should only fall in love with people who will fall in love back... I feel an ache in my throat, but i manage to smile. Two conflicting desires go through me at the same time, each as sharp as a razor blade: I want to see you grow up and Don't ever change.
And you can glance out the window for a moment, distracted by the sound of small kids playing a made-up game in a neighbor's yard, some kind of kickball maybe, and they speak in your voice, or piggyback races on the weedy lawn, and it's your voice you hear, essentially, under the glimmerglass sky, and you look at the things in the room, offscreen, unwebbed, the tissued grain of the deskwood alive in light, the thick lived tenor of things, the argument of things to be seen and eaten, the apple core going sepia in the lunch tray, and the dense measures of experience in a random glance, the monk's candle reflected in the slope of the phone, hours marked in Roman numerals, and the glaze of the wax, and the curl of the braided wick, and the chipped rim of the mug that holds your yellow pencils, skewed all crazy, and the plied lives of the simplest surface, the slabbed butter melting on the crumbled bun, and the yellow of the yellow of the pencils, and you try to imagine the word on the screen becoming a thing in the world, taking all its meanings, its sense of serenities and contentments out into the streets somehow, its whisper of reconciliation, a word extending itself ever outward, the tone of agreement or treaty, the tone of repose, the sense of mollifying silence, the tone of hail and farewell, a word that carries the sunlit ardor of an object deep in drenching noon, the argument of binding touch, but it's only a sequence of pulses on a dullish screen and all it can do is make you pensive-a word that spreads a longing through the raw sprawl of the city and out across the dreaming bournes and orchards to the solitary hills. Peace.