Sniffing, Corinne climbs into the back seat with her brothers.
"But WHY can't I stay with grandma another week" she whimpers?
"Because you can't" her mother replies for the umpteenth time.
Grandma slips some marzipan into Corinne's pocket with a conspiratorial wink. She leans full into the window to hug her.
"See the moon in the sky?" she says pointing to its slivered brighness in the night sky. "Whenever you miss me, look for it. I'll be watching it too. We can meet there in our dreams until your next visit, all right?"
Corinne nods silently as wipes her nose with the back of her hand. Grandma digs a small handkerchief out of her pocket. "Use this, it's more ladylike". A warm press of grammalips on the center of her forehead and the car pulls away.
She presses the kerchief against her face. She breathes in deeply, scent of Grandma fills her nostrils. Tears pouring down, stifling the threatening sobs, she leans her head against the window and looks out into the sky. She watches the moon and the stars dancing around it. The rhythmic sound of tires against pavement lull her to calm. Soon she is dancing with grandma in the garden of her dreams.
Jaime is up again, his small face distorted in tears. Infant cries fill every nook and cranny, echoing about the house. New parents, bleary eyed, are pacing the floors with him. Walking back and forth, rocking back and forth.
"What's wrong with him? Why won't he sleep?"
Another half hour of pacing and humming to no avail. They are frustrated, he is inconsolable. A quick call to an irritated yet amused Mom yields the car ride advice.
"It always worked for you", she says sleepily over the phone.
The soft hum of the engine and the gently rolling country roads do the trick. Jaime is well on his way to dreamland. Finally.
The exhausted parents pull into the driveway. She curls into the crook of his arm. "not yet" she says, "leave the radio on OK? How about we just stay here a little while and enjoy the peace?"
Within moments she is softly snoring against his shoulder. His eyes rest upon his sleeping wife and child, softly lit by the moon's light. Smiling, his last thought before drifting off to join them was how lucky he was to have them.
Awkward. That's how this day was. She hadn't seen these relatives in over two years, not since the going away party saluting their bid for adventure. She was uncomfortable. She hadn't slept in weeks, strung out on stress.
"It'll be good for you to reconnect with the family" her mother insisted.
She would have preferred to curlup into a ball and hide away forever, too ashamed to face anybody. He had taken off with her son a month ago. She was too much in shock to stop him. Still in shock, stunned by the dissolution of what she thought was the perfect union. When had things gone awry? Nobody in her family divorces. EVER. She had failed, somehow it must have been her fault. It had taken her three weeks to crawl back home with her tail between her legs.
The pauses between bites of conversation were deafening. Please make this day over. Please. No she didn't want to talk about it. She was edgy. No she didn't want more to eat. She had barely tasted the salad set before her.
Gratefully she crawls into the backseat next to her grandmother. She wants the knot in her stomach and the bees in her head to go away. Just go away.Her father turns the radio on softly and begins to hum.
"Look at the moon, Corinne. Isn't it just beautiful tonight?"
Her grandmother points out the car window. Corinne leans her head against her shoulder, peering up into the evening sky, focusing on nothing but the serene glow of the silver half sphere. The rhythmic sounds of tires against pavement, combined with her grandmother's soft even strokes along her hair sooth her weary frazzled nerves. Hardly aware of the shift between wake and sleep, soon she is dancing with Jaime in the garden of her dreams.