I still don't know what the sweet scent comes from but I die a little death every time I catch it.
My husband and I have mixed drinks and taken them out to the patio. The girls are in bed, or supposed to be. I catch their silhouettes, their brambled hair, in sheets of black against a yellow light through my bedroom window. The evening is nearly over and a wind is gathering in the west. I pull my wrap tight around me, tuck it underneath my toes. I sip my drink that tastes of last summer, the sweet tequila that's been untouched since August.
He gets a phone call.
I hear tiny feet bounding up and down the hall. Inside, the children are making mischief, like survivors in a house without adults. Above me the great old tree is hushing in the wind. My husband's voice is a background murmur as I tip my head to the violet sky and watch the bats, watch the leaves, watch the wind.
Far in the southwest cracks one spectacular bolt of lighting.
Earlier that day I'd realized that the stories I tell myself about everything going right one day are as hurtful as the stories I tell myself about everything going wrong. This epiphany settles friendly in my chest, beneath the burn of tequila and the chill of the summer storm. Nothing goes my way is a thought I've learned to stop, but its companion lie is, when I achieve this, everything will be circus and peonies and now, I realize that isn't true.
I am happy now.
I will fall asleep, a little drunk, in clean sheets next to my husband and I will know, or maybe remember, that everything my happiness needs is contained right here and now.
Every last thing.
After the bolt I watch the same spot in the sky for five minutes, ten, but nothing comes. Then we see it, a flickering light in the north, its answering thunder. Through the screen I tell Ayla to sleep in my bed, where she can burrow and hear the storm and her father's voice.
My husband and I sit on the patio as the storm approaches and settles in above our heads. There are bone-clean fingers of white lightning in the west and echoing fairy lights in clouds to the north. The wind rushes and I close my eyes and with every part of me, feel it in my hair. I know it's a little dangerous but maybe that is why it feels so good, why I feel so alive, why these storms seem to enter into my body and tingle in my veins, in my marrow where lately I have come to picture combs of clean new honey.
It is a beautiful storm. The moment it becomes full dark, it begins to rain. I stand in the garage door for just another moment and close my eyes, breathe in the scent. The atmosphere is full, a charged presence like spirit or heart and it fills me up, and I am full.
Change is coming, like a quickening storm.
I am happiest in in-betweens and this is why I want to see the world.
It makes me feel more alive.