"Momma, I know we never -- we're not even supposed to THINK about keeping secrets," Myra says.
A casual lunch and she's risen out of her seat, standing on the table bench next to me. I scrape a tortilla chip around the rim of my soup bowl, scoop up chunks of salsa and beans. I glance at Myra.
"What made you think about that?" I say.
"I was just thinking about SECRETS," she says. She leans her hands on the table, peers around me into the kitchen.
"Huh," I say another triangle tortilla scooped full of taco soup. I pop the whole thing in my mouth. It shatters into salt and mango salsa sweetness.
"I think she saw Jack and Lucy whispering by the donuts," Jane says. There wedged between Myra and me, Jane and a bowl of steel cut oats. She ladles the remnants of Sunday breakfast into her mouth.
"Oh," I say. I peer into the kitchen, the stack of maple donuts half gone. Rightly so, though, I gave them for dessert. I picture Jack and Lu whispering over who gets the biggest one.
"What makes YOU feel better Joey?" Myra chirps. She's squatting on the bench now, flower bike shorts and polka-dot shirt. She leans elbows out to the center of the table.
"DONUTS," Joe says. "Donuts make me feel better." He grins. Those wide-set eyes smile at the corners. His spoon slopped to the side of his bowl, a beard of steel cut oats and brown sugar, he grins.
Maple bars. News travels fast. Good news. We share dessert, each maple bar a handle hold on a moment together.
5656. Jack wrestles the hardest opponent so far. And wins! I bite my fingernails, literally.
5657. A fresh mango, perfectly yellow.
5658. Daffodils and hyacinths, the house full of their scent.
5659. A birthday party for a nephew. Deviled eggs, olives, and bacon. Coffee and donuts.
5660. A package of diapers. Soap for all the kids. Joey blanches joy.
5661. Craig puts up shelves in the greenhouse.
5662. I make an orange scented cleaner using vinegar and orange peels.
5663. We circle up with the kids to pray before bed. All those little hands linked through my elbows, slung over my shoulders, patting the side of my neck, stroking my face -- love encircles us.