I listen to the classical music program on the radio station. A woman is singing an aria so guttingly gorgeous that I freeze. Tears, again, although I squeeze my eyes shut to stop them. Isn't this sad?, I ask my son.
No, he replies, puzzled, and adds, as proof: It's in a major key. He stares at me, scrutinizes my reddened face, searches for signs of tears before finally turning back to Minecraft.
Ahh, I acknowledge. Just me, I guess. This summer I find myself saying that last bit a lot.
Once my family, which then consisted of three of us, not four, my last son not yet a thought or promise, was driving east on a major highway. My husband was at the wheel, and my firstborn was sleeping in his car seat. It was raining, hard, and then harder still. We considered pulling over to the side of the road to wait out the storm, but before we'd committed to a course we were first sliding out of our lane and next off the road and finally as if in a dream flying for a moment before bumping and scraping across an overgrown, rutted field. My husband and I fixed shocked eyes on each other before remembering to turn back and check on the baby, who had awakened and was sucking his fingers thoughtfully.
We were lucky. Of all the places to go off that particular interstate, ours was one of the least steep drops. So said the man in a truck who drove onto the field to check on us. Our car hadn't even flipped. Only a sprained finger among us three, mine, from clutching the dashboard in a reflexive attempt to protect myself from harm. (I always seem to end up hurting myself in silly maneuvers intended to circumvent pain. A post for another day.)
We'd thought our car was more or less intact, aside from deep scratch marks in the paint courtesy of the bushes and brambles we'd encountered during the accident, until about a month later when we were in the midst of an automatic car wash and water started coming in through the car windows. The closed car windows.
At the repair shop we affected nonchalance as the technician told us that the frame of our car was so damaged, bent out of shape in fact, that it would cost some thousands of dollars to have it fixed.
Funny thing about damage: sometimes it's obvious well past the time when it should have been, and even then, it's obvious only to auto mechanics and musically inclined children.