She lays her eggs in the split open twigs of a tree, they hatch and fall to the ground, and they live buried in the dirt for a time, a few years, many years. The larvae emerge from the ground, molt their exoskeleton and then spend the rest of their lives singing in the dog days of summer. I listen as they sing Hakuna Matata, as they sing Que Sera Sera. Me? I sit on my front steps as the amazon prepares to paint the last bits of my house, coffee in my hands. Feeling awkward as the dog sniffs her purse which she has left on the lawn.
I am fretting, I am fretting my house.
I look down and see a cicada larva on the edge of the concrete steps. Hey there little guy, I say, that doesn’t look like a safe place to lose your shell. I wonder if it hurts to lose your shell as I reach down and gently pick him up. I place him in the palm of my hand, and he goes wandering on me, navigating the ravines of my fingers and the slope of my arm. I feel his legs pricking my skin, I look at his face which I find to be an alien beauty. The Japanese make kites that look like cicadas. I had my kindergarteners make cicada drawings based on those kite designs, and then color them in brilliant fluorescent colors contrasting with the dark crayons left in the bottom of the bin in May. I wonder if they are hearing the cicadas now and remembering, as I am. I put him in the yew next to the steps and he quickly moves away from me.
Do not worry the house, do not worry.
They say that people come into your life when you need them, and leave again when you do not. I am contemplating this notion as I sit here. The recent difficulties with a relative who was to help, the friend whom I have managed to blow off intentionally and not, who has been angry with me for not renting her time share though it would have financial wash out, and a destroyer of time for us. And just when I had extended a hand, and she had accepted, the relative made the promise to work and didn’t but by then I had already cancelled plans yet AGAIN with her, I tap my coffee cup with the tip of my finger, click, click, the argument with the pirate, the final straw of this friendship, and who knows what other repercussions collateral damage. I think of Patricia and how she left once and came back in. I want to go and see her. I do not know when. I think of this relative, and I feel justified in my anger. I know as friend lost says, you should let it all go, but am I not allowed a choice as to when? Am I not allowed the time to grieve? Am I to paint a smile on the plastic doll face of my head and pretend that everything is okay?
There is a woman at work who is always cheerful, and she puts sparkle and sunshine on everything she encounters, putting a happy spin on everything. Don’t be a Nelly Negative. I don’t trust her. A cousin tells me, in the additional radioactive fallout of the whole help me fix the house debacle, to put a smile on my face and make nice. I think of the little girl in my daughter’s first grade who called my house at 5am, repeatedly, and when I hung up, she called back again. Later, on the bus, she hit my daughter, the social worker told my daughter that she had to be friends again with this girl. Make up and be friends she told her. Be civil indeed, but friends? With a girl that lies, hits you and harasses you? Put a smile on my face though I am scrambling like a mad woman to get all of this done? Can I not just get it done first?
Why do we tell our girls to make nice?
This friend of mine, she is posting endless things about how you have to face your problems with a cheerful demeanor. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Get over it, stop having a poor me party. It makes me sad that we don’t allow ourselves the time to grieve, to be sad.
How many days on end did I cry until I couldn’t anymore?
I am not saying I am sad all the time, I sit on the back porch the chimes singing in the breeze, the cicadas, the chirping cardinal, I am deeply content at this moment; art has been made, knitting started, afghans half sewed, books completed. Though I am fretting the house, though I am fretting my slovenliness these weeks.
Am I also not allowed anger? Am I not allowed worry. Am I not allowed a year to cry every single day if that is what it took to get me from there to here? Even if I have not fully let go of the sorrow?
I watch the cicada nymph as it navigates the needles and the spiderwebs and the sharp twigs in the yew, soon he is lost from my sight I wonder if I should look in the yew for his shed shell later, and then for him, giant and sparkling green with black lace wings, face even more beautiful in its strangeness. Some take 2 years to get here, some take 17. Does anyone ever stand over the dirt where the 17’s are buried and scream make lemonade for Gods sake, pull yourself out of the dirt by your bootstraps, it been 4 damn years already?!
I sigh as I take a sip of the coffee.
I wonder, what will this day bring? This moment was a gift.