I reclined on a chaise longue on a Spanish-style patio (meaning wide, faux-adobe tile and iron and wood furniture), appreciating water chiming from the mouth of a stone lion—not a spooky, Lil’ Orphan Annie-eyed stone lion, but a handsome one—sun and shade mad flickers on my skin thanks to the mini-leaves of a crepe myrtle tree, laptop in place. My son napped in the guestroom a few feet away, the room’s French doors open, so that I could easily glance at his dramatic nap-sprawl on the bed, appeasing the city-woman in me on alert for starving mountain lions or escaped boa constrictors with a knack for ferreting out snoozing babes. I worked—more contentedly than I have at my own home in a long time. Point being, really: Daylight—and I was writing.
Escape. It feeds the soul.
I wander, listening to each room, examining the Peruvian artifacts placed in moodily-lit niches. It’s night. My son sleeps. I am: alone. Except for horse. And mask.
In another life, housesitting such an artifact would have straightened my hair with terror—but I like this mask. I toasted it with my glass of wine. Lovely, I told it.
You know you’re away from everything that is glaringly familiar when you can sing your son to sleep in one room, walk past the horse niche and clown mask without worrying horror-eyes are following you, step down a couple of chatty wooden steps into a living room with a grand piano, sit at that piano and run your fingers over the keys without using the soft pedal and not wake your son.
And you don’t freak yourself out that Norma Desmond is going to float down the staircase you gaze at from your seat on the piano bench.
Memory worked my fingers for over an hour. Oh! Listen! Nothing but pressed piano keys, lion fountain and the grandfather clock’s personal machine-stirrings.
These days, I am so not afraid to be alone. Alone and in charge. Alone at night with frozen-gait-horse and the mask. Alone with a piano—morphing from that situation to alone with my laptop. It is strange and nice. To have this time, I mean–this moodily lit time-niche.
This is what motherhood has done to me: made me bold.
This is the boldness I will set loose on my work.