What the Fishes Saw

It was one of those days with prospects in it that make you grit your teeth, just to get started. When rolling out of bed feels like moving in slow motion.

One of those mornings when you hold the baby and hold the baby, and oh gosh he's just so fussy, and the dishes are piling up and the kids are outside in their underwear again, playing in the sand pile, pretending not to hear you when you call them in.

It was one of those mornings when everyone needs to get ready to go into town to do some errands, town being forty-five minutes away on a drive that curls your toes every time; the potholes, the narrow misses, the cows stepping out in front of the car.

It was one of those mornings when for the life of you, you can't get anyone ready in time to leave so that you won't hit the market in the heat of the day.

It was one of those days when the thought of wrapping the baby onto you like a wonderfully efficient body-heater makes you have to grit your teeth again to force yourself to do it. You tell yourself to get up and go, to be an adult, to get it done.

It was one of those days when you hit everything at the wrong time, so that everyone is prematurely hungry, thirsty, and tired. You walk in the market with the heat draping itself around your shoulders, pressing down on your head, slumping you and making you dull and dusty.

Your children grow flushed and cranky.  You eat food, but it is too spicy for the kids.  The baby fusses.

It was one of those days when the amount of time and energy it takes to get simple things done like groceries and kids' clothes bought, the time, the dusty time- it seems to spin out in front of you in a never ending loop.  You will always be tired and in the midday sun.

It was one of those days when the kids fight in the backseat of the car during the entire ride home, when your husband is exhausted and you start to make dinner but then just ask him to finish because it is too late and the baby is wailing and you really want to just put him down and walk away but that is generally frowned upon.  The house is still close with the heat.

And all your efforts all day, all the smiling and kindness wear on you, making grooves that are good but not exciting, brave but not sparkling.

And then the tides turn a bit.

Before, when you turn into your tiny jungle road it feels remarkably like home.  Your neighbors are in their coconut trees, harvesting young coconuts, and they ask if you would like any.  The climber nimbly heads back up and chops a few down for you, then makes sure that he tells your husband that one of them is "only for your wife."  You drink the coconut water and feel refreshed.

The children go to sleep.  The baby finally drops off.  You want to go for a swim in the darkness, but it's not safe to go alone.  You ask a friend to come over and do her reading on your porch, so that you and your husband can go together.

It's dark and you cling to him as you walk.  You can see the milky way, thousands of stars, and one star falls as you step onto the sand.  The ocean is different at night.  It is huge and you can't see where it is-the line of sky is gone--there is a solid inky black sheet, everywhere you look.  The white breakers are like a roaring mouth to you, and you hesitate before walking in.

But it's warm and glassy and you aren't as afraid now.  Suddenly your husband yelps as he drags his hand through the water and at first you think he has been bitten, but then you see what he sees.  Thousands of sparks, like the sparks that shoot up when you throw a giant log on a bonfire.  They trail after his hand, they are all around you.   It is phosphorescent algae, lights and lights in the dark water.  They glow as you move, and there are millions of them.

Now you are laughing and making huge arcs with your hands, lights trailing after, both of you have turned into children again, and there are stars above you, stars beneath you, stars all around you.  When your husband swims away from you, under the water, you see the angel's wings that his arms make; he is glowing as he moves through the dark.  When he stands up, there are stars in his dreadlocks, clinging to his beard, running off of his skin.

You stay as long as you dare, before you head back home to the kids, thanking God inside and out loud, glad for this cooling, for this beauty, so much beauty, so much of what you need, above, below, and all around.