Margot is super into monochromatic fashion right now. Today, it is blue. Yesterday, it was mint. Ruby often wishes to follow suit and twists with her larger desire to wear striped tights. “Margot, how ’bout it’s stripedy day?” she asks, holding two fistfuls of tights. “Or we could be rainbow girls?!”
Margot halfway acknowledges and eventually dismisses her sister’s ideas as she searches for her black undies that will perfectly finish her black uniform. On this Day of Black, Ruby does abandon her tights into a heap of colorful noodles and surprisingly chooses black. I call them my little Sprockets which leads to me doing my best Sprocket interpretation and eventual googling of old SNL skits.
The weirdness of the whole thing is hysterical and we just can’t stop laughing and dancing with short, snappy, sullen-faced motion. Leftover balloons from last night’s birthday party are naturally added to the mix. The temps are in the 40s and the deck snow has been replaced with soft, gray wood. Outdoor dancing happens.
Margot watches her silhouette shake in the door reflection and Ruby watches Margot. I sing the Sprocket song, pausing every few beats to say strike a pose. They freeze, except their bodies shake with giggles. Margot inevitably steps in chicken poop. I shrug it happens and she keeps dancing. Also somewhat inevitable, Margot mistakenly releases her balloon. She shrieks. It hovers inches from her body. The gentle wind keeps it low for more than a second; she has ample time to grab the ribbon as it hulas in front of her eyeballs. She stares at the shiny pink heart, mouth open in agony as the balloon gives up on capture and bobs away.
Ruby studies her sister for a half-moment before declaring, “Watch Margot! I’ll let mine go too! And then we’ll be the same!” Ruby eagerly tosses her white star up, giving her balloon a whiplashed start to joining the heart. Margot laughs, tears blurring her vision. Ruby laughs once – a loud surprised laugh – before she bursts into sobs.
My balloooooooooooooooon. My balloooooooooooooooon. My balloooooooooooooooon. My balloooooooooooooooon. My balloooooooooooooooon. moans into the periwinkle sky.
Ruby chokes a request for my phone, saying she wants to take a photo of the balloons that they will “never ever see again in real life.” She is gripping the hard and unfair concept of something leaving you without your permission. Those balloons will forever exist in her imaginary life, seared into her memory just like this:
The balloons shrink into black dots which relieves Margot and exasperates Ruby.
“That makes me kind of sad,” Margot observes plainly.
Ruby is frantic. “I don’t even know where to look! I can’t even tell which balloon is mine! I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO LOOK! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHICH BALLOON TO WATCH AS IT FLOATS AWAAAAAAAAY?!”
The Sprocket Dance Party is over. We retreat inside to make soup while talking about the impermanence of awesome things in our lives. Balloons are like seasons, ice cream cones and breastfeeding.
Leek Pesto Rice Soup
1 onion, chopped
3 leeks, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups stock or water (we love this mushroom boullion)
1 cup basmati rice
1 tablespoon pesto (I’ve used our arugula pesto and store-bought pesto)
Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil in pot, add onion and cook over high heat until soft and fragrant. Add leeks and cook for one minute, stirring. Add stock and rice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until rice is cooked (about 15-20 minutes). Purée with immersion blender or in batches with a regular ol’ blender. Stir in pesto and serve.
Oh the intense bipolar nature of childhood! I loved this essay!