I sit with her this quiet afternoon, while her brother naps, a rare hour of time together. The two of us. I look around at the piles of work sitting next to us on the floor, the dirty counters, the laundry wrinkling in the basket. And I sit, incapable of pulling myself away from the feel of her, the weight of her resting against me. She speaks to me with sing-song words, just syllables really and I listen for meaning. I replay them in my head. The sweet, high-pitch sound of her voice.
I kiss the cool soft skin in the creases of her neck and the marshmallowy folds on her ankles and knees. I press my lips against her cheeks, devouring her. Inhaling her sour sweetness. I bury my nose in her fine hair and nibble on her ears. A laugh bubbles out of her, an uninhibited squeal. I let the sound of it ring in the air. Surely God has created no more beautiful sound. I nibble more and the laughing erupts. Stronger now, from deep inside her. Bursting forth in waves and gurgles. And I laugh too, with tears forming in my eyes. The two of us, in love, enraptured with each other.
She pushes against me, wanting to be free. I have held her too long, too tightly. I set her down to crawl away. The moment has passed and I wish I could seal it away, can it in a jar like summer tomatoes, to pop open on a day when I have forgotten. When I can no longer taste her cherubic softness against my lips or hear the ring of her laughter.
Because I will forget. I already have.
I can no longer picture her siblings at her age or hear their cooing voices. Was their voice as sweet? Was their skin as soft? Surely not. Certainly such beauty could not fade to the shadows I now have for memories.
But I know that it has. I know as strongly as I know anything that there were moments of such rapture and they have faded like the dusk, and once again I wonder why. Why my God who gives me such glimpses of perfection would give me a mind too feeble to keep them with me.
But I know the answer, He has whispered it to me again and again. It's for the beauty of days to come, that this moment fades, so my heart will be free to find the beauty in tomorrow. Free to embrace the joy in the life I have yet to live. And so, as the tears burn in my eyes, I try not to mourn the passing of this time. I try only to thank God for the blessing of this perfect moment...
and for the moments that will follow when it, too, is only a ghost for me.