"Smile, smile, smile," I poke Joey's cheeks and twiddle his ears. "Smile, big boy." ABC Song Book under one arm, he relents, splits a grin. I smile. "Good job, go play." He thumps off in pudgy bare feet.
"Why do you do that?" Jane says. I stand to full height. There at the old black table, she watches me. I slide next to her on the bench. That speckled gray sweater Great-Grammie made years ago, a pair of blue jeans, a pile of schoolwork, she pauses in natural habitat to fish an answer out of my face.
"We know how to smile when we don't really want to," I say, "like just make your face do it, but he doesn't." I picture again his impish frown, the whiny cock of his head, the way he clutched the sing-song-book and almost mouthed the word NO though no one was there. I see the same reel playing behind Jane's eyes, as if we are reviewing the same footage.
"Oh," she says. "He thinks your feelings control your face. But we know your face controls your feelings." She gives a half nod, almost a salute, agreement, as if joining a team.
"Yeah," I say. That schoolwork bunched up around us, Jack galloping through math drill an arm's length away, and for a moment, the whole lens of learning leans in on the polestar of Joe's face.
Smile. Make yourself do it. Let the tail feathers of emotion fold perfectly under your wings.
Something placid and full, like a rising moon, rests on Jane's face. She glides through the work like an open sail.
5395. "This has STRAWBERRIES in everyone," Myra chimes over my lentil soup garnished with salsa.
5396. We have dinner with my parents, the night a perfect circle of love.
5397. Dad tells Mom to buy treats for the Air Show, so we shop together. We make a pitstop at the park to sketch iris.
5398. Craig's Mom brings up a flat of fennel she let sit under the warming love of her greenhouse.
5399. Craig's grammie turns 99, a real gem of a woman.
5400. We meet for the annual Air Show on a blanket in a field near the end of the runway. The airplane army on precision display, the children's mouths drop open. They cheer. They cry. They laugh and point. The thunder crack of their engines rattles our chests.
5401. Tears fill my eyes. The honor of men and women willing to die for our freedom fills me with gratitude and salute. Honor.
5402. My baby brother turns 30. He makes it look like the perfect age, does it every year.
5403. I plant the rest of our garden except for a few marigold. A wholesome season of growth begins. I check it every morning.
5404. I finish Great Expectations. The ending surprises me.
5405. We reel in the week, prepare for the next. A fermata of enjoyment separates the the two.