|An Offering (M.A Reilly, 2011)|
I had Wallace Stevens on my mind when it happened. It was an insistent voice in my head chanting two of his lines over and over as I watched the streets slide past out the window of the car.
The book of moonlight is not written yet
Nor half begun...
It wasn't night, nor was there a promise for a full moon later. That was a week away. I don't know what triggered my memory of these lines, but I was intrigued, half listening to what my husband was saying, half thinking about what is not written.
It was Friday afternoon and we had left Newark and were making our way through Bloomfield to get on the Garden State Parkway. We were heading towards home when my husband slowed the car to a stop in order to yield to oncoming traffic.
The young man in the green car behind us did not yield. He did not stop until after his car clipped the rear driver's side bumper of my year-old car.
"He's a communication major at William Paterson. He wants to be a sports broadcaster," Rob is telling me an hour later as we sit in a restaurant. Off to our right three older men sit at a table, a small cup of custard is brought to them with a single lit candle and the waitresses gather and sing a quick Happy Birthday.
The he, Rob is talking about is Giuseppe, the young man who was diving the green car.
"He was nervous as hell," Rob says. "I told him, 'Nothing bad happened. Relax. We're all okay. Just a few dents and all of it can be fixed.'"
Even though Rob is now officially retired from teaching, the profession remains with him, continues to define him. He was pissed in the car but when he stepped out, when he saw that the driver was just a boy a bit older than our own son--he quickly morphed into teacher mode.
I am a teacher. I am.
He became what best defines him: a teacher soothing a kid who was panicking. Getting him to talk about himself, his schooling, his dreams. Soothing the boy's mom who arrived at the scene after her son had called. No one was hurt. Laughing with the cop from Bloomfield who told him, "Now I have draw this scene."
"Hey, you shouldn't have cut out that art course."
I was reminded later that afternoon as I sat in the restaurant with a slight headache pressing and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in hand that love is mostly complicated, but some days it feels less so. It's like that book of moonlight, unwritten, not even half begun.