Sunday, April 1, 2012
The Things We Hold On To
I found these peach blossoms at the market. I bought them too early, at the beginning of a morning full of errands. So I carried the branches through the neighborhood, snuck them through crowded sidewalks. They brushed past boarded construction sites and I raised them to avoid strollers, street lamps, stray passersby.
The hunchbacked butcher, who I love, who moves slow and steady behind the counter lugging meat in his blood-stained coat, asked me if I had brought them for him. I held them out and he laughed and told me he has his own tree in the yard, how beautiful it is, though he worries about the cold snap, how many blooms he'll lose.
Later, we rode our bicycles through Williamsburg, to Greenpoint, and an endless string of cars lined the streets to Steiner Studios. An open trunk revealed giant sacks of potatoes and carrots. Men in suits, with wide-brimmed hats and payot, slung them over their shoulders and moved through the procession to an event we wondered about, one we could not possibly know.
As I pedaled, I saw many hands clutch leafy palms as church let out. I was reminded of Sundays as a little girl, sitting restlessly in wooden pews. I'd kick my feet against the sturdy pew in front of me, snatch a bundle of palms when they came my way.
My mother, a talented knitter, would effortlessly weave them together in delicate designs. I'd bend and twist and curve my palms and it frustrated me that they never looked like hers.
Do it to mine too, I'd pout. And she'd take them from me in the car on the way home, braid them the way she braided my hair. I'd sit in the backseat and she'd hand them back to me, something newer than what they were, the green ends dangling like delicate ribbons of silk.