I Think of My Mother and Father, the Early Years
Here’s how it starts: They’re on their way to the Canadian border, the Thousand Islands, its shoals and rocks.
They are eloping, despite my father’s financial distress, her father’s disapproval. They are aiming to achieve marital bliss, its vicissitudes. Over cascading hair, my mother wears a hat of bird plumage; the short, fluffy brown speckled feathers spill onto her brow. Her clothes are important to her. Not to my father, chain-smoking unfiltered cigarettes, his teeth already stained yellow.
Neither has much more than a passing sense of how this works, though my father has recently been to war. My mother puts one hand on his shoulder, the other on the door of the green Buick sedan on which he still owes too much; they are worried they don’t know enough.
The first night, the stress of the unknown will paint a rash on my father’s chest. For now, the sky is the clear blue of his eyes.