December is slipping through the spaces between my fingers and so is she.
So is she, head hung over the rubber tire swing, arms flopping at her sides, mouth agape. In a few months, I will have lost her completely to distance. But for now, she’s still young, still just a kid in a white and green knit cap, hair sticking out on all sides.
And so I take a picture. Because that’s what you do when you know it won’t last.
I wonder what we did before iPhones and Instagram, before Polaroids or picture frames. Those small moments, the ones where we were painfully aware of time, did they get lost?
Did we take mental snapshots before we knew what snapshots were? Did we know, more than ever, when time was just a thing we got to play with for a few hours on a quiet winter afternoon?
I’d like it back. I’d like her back.
I’d like to think that time is a thing to be won, a thing to be held, a thing to be saved. But it’s not. It’s a thing to be lost, under the sofa cushions and beneath the bed and behind the clothes dryer. It’s a thing to be wasted, sleeping into the afternoon and staying with people who don’t care about us, and standing stuck in ruts because it’s scarier to jump.
It’s scarier to miss her than it is to pretend it’s OK when state lines and deadlines and workdays and weekends get added up between us like bricks building walls.
You deserve to find the people who reach for your hand in a crowd of strangers, but more than that, the ones who reach for it in a crowd of friends. You deserve to grow up, and grow old, and grow tired sometimes of trying to make it work, trying to make life work, trying to make distance disappear.
But never giving up.
I decided when she was months old that I would never give her up, on a doorstep or a milk carton missing child ad. She was mine.
There are nights, plenty of them, when I realize I’ll never have to.