Saturday, July 07, 2007
BoyWonder was working on challenging, interesting and creative work in 2005. This work was involved and had him either working late into the night, or leaving our fair country on a plane, across the ocean, through a few time zones, to London England. London, England, became a remote place. A place that had a firm hold on BoyWonder. A place where he would go, with a team of people, a place where he would have to stay for days, a place which promised hours and hours of planning before he left and when he returned, it promised more work, and more hours away from his home. London,England was a place where he could take a brief moment to visit his sister, a place where he seemed to have time to have dinner... A place which seemed far from reach of a daughter of seven. A place where the Queen lived and where there would be castles and even princes, but this city with all her charms, held no romance for Scooter.
Scooter, was a patient child waiting for her father to be free of the endless deadlines and travels to LondonEngland. But there were times when her brave front could bare no more. When all her friends had times and moments spent with their fathers and she was in want of hers.
I remember Father's Day in 2005, Scooter had painstakenly made her father a gift and a card. She was full of anticipation of sharing the day with her dad. So when BoyWonder had to work on a deadline on Father's Day she was not happy.
And he, so wanting to please, came home for a harried dinner with us before his imminent departure.
Scooter ate her dinner and was brave. She gave her father his glorious gift, a gift which took her weeks of making, a gift which to her was a gift from the heavens, or at least of her adventures to school. Scooter had made a paper mache bird. Not just any bird, a maginificent bird. A bird who seemed to seranade her on her way to school. A bird who always caused her to pause, on her travels to school, she never failed to appreciate its wondrous melody. It always made her smile. It always seemed to bring a peace to her. A moment she always shared with me, and now, Scooter had made her father a part of that 'moment'. She had brought him the heavens. She wanted to bring him into that special part of her world, the Purple Finch, a world of melody and song, found in her city. A great deal of paradise was in that wee parcel in which he held fast.
He opened her great gift, read her wonderful card of love and daughterly devotion, and truly appreciated the wonder she had made for him, and as he filled with tears of appreciation for what his daughter bestowed upon him , his limosine arrived to take him away. He had to go. He had to leave our wee unit and go across an ocean where no Purple Finches lay in wait for him. No glorious melodies in which he could take pause. And it broke his heart. But she could not see this. She was all of seven.
Her face dropped. She could only see what lay ahead, He was leaving.
And when the limo pulled away, with her dad waving and looking back, my daughter melted . She sobbed in my stomach as he disappeared into a speck in the distance. I held her tight.
She pulled away and cried, 'He's my dad and it's OUR day, It is my daddy's and my day...Father's DAY. Not LONDONENGLAND's DAY! !!!He's MY DAD, and LondonEngland is taking him away...it's not fair!!! I hate LONDONENGLAND'
There are times, when reason and logic can help pass the time, and then there are times when we need to be illogical and wanting... It all evens out, and hopefully we strike a balance. But in that time, no amount of logic, or persuasion of the promise of time in the future could help mend my daughter's disappointed, hurt,heart. Time could and would heal this wound but the promise did not lay there on our front porch.
Now, my birthday is a big cause for celebration in our home. It is a time of grand celebration, as it also marked by BoyWonder's and my LOVE anniversary.The event is normally marked with a few traditions...
One of the traditions is for BoyWonder and Scooter to adventure into the shopping arena on a quest for the perfect gift fo me. It becomes a father daughter week as they painstakenly pour into various shops trying to find the perfect gift. This tradition has been in place since Scooter could point at and nodd, or shake her head in disagreement. And the two relished the moment in finding the perfect gift, along with making the perfect card, to symbolize all of their love.
London had taken Scooter's beloved Daddy away to London and he would not arrive back home until the day before my birthday. Again with LondonEngland, again with the sacrafice of a tradition, or a moment spent.
She was hurt. She would not want to talk of LondonEngland, when he called, she did not want to hear of all the sites he had seen. She did not want to know that he had the chance to see his sister. She would just sneer and would state 'I hate LondonEngland, Daddy. '
And by never referring to London as London, but as LondonEngland there was a greater divide. She would never be on familiar terms with LondonEngland... She would never regress to calling it London while it, that mysterious city, had a hold of her Daddy.
And so, when BoyWonder called on July 6th, she would barely talk to him. She was occupied with her life at home. He was away. Away from her and our home and our traditions. My birthday was a few short days away. And her daddy was away in LondonEngland. He tried to appease her by saying he would be home tomake a cake and we could have my birthday celebration on the LOVE celebration day...
Reason had left this seven year old who is still left waiting with unfulfilled promises of time spent with her father. And so my wee, Scooter, was a bit short and a tad jaded with her daddy when he called.
And I know he was a bit hurt. And as she thrust the phone to me,refusing to hear of his news.She did not want to hear of the long hours or of the stifling heat, and how he had been spending way too much time on the tube. She cared not for how hot the tubes were in London , contrary to our home subways stations. She did not care that we had some cool relief as we decend into the earths bowels, compared to her father whot had only a stifling wall of heat when he went on the subway.
BoyWonder has never done well in heat in London, or in our country. And in London, accompanied with his misery of being separated from his family, was a city of heat with no relief, no air conditioners and no cross winds. And no communication of misery was going to bring him closer in the great divide of an ocean and telephone wires.
He signed off, letting me know that it was to be long day with a great deal of travel through the city proper of London. July 7th was a filled day of travel. And a great deal of time will be spent on the tube. He hung up with the promise to call me around his suppertime.
On July the 7th I awoke with a start. I have no idea why I would wake up at 5:30 in the morning, and my heart was racing. Logically there was no reason for me to rise as such an hour. There is no logical reason for my my shortness of breath and for my heart to be beating so strongly. I had to dullen the sensation, so I decided to turn on my clock radio.
I turned on the radio and my heart began to race further... My heart was indeed racing for a reason... My heart was in London.
And the radio, the radio informed me of terror. The radio let me know of a terror which hit London. Terrorist's bombs had hit the London Tubes and there was no news on how many had died and how many stations were truly affected.
My heart dropped, but it felt reason, my heart felt panic but it did permit my brain to listen to reason to the radio, I listened further... King's Cross station? That! That, was Boy Wonder's station... And a bus? on Tavistock? Was that not, my sister in law's route???
I rushed downstairs. I found my address book. I flicked on the television. I needed to see. My mind was too occupied with the words swirling about, I could not find reason. But somehow I was not filled with dispair, but disbelief of what the journalists were reporting.
I called my sister in law's work line.
It took so much time to get through to London. Her lines were blocked. The world was anxious.I was anxious, I knew it would take time to forge through the lines, I was one of hundreds of thousands who needed to hear from their loved ones. But I knew from September 11th, from the past terror attack, that this was the 'norm'. I just kept trying. I knew the drill, and no news is good news. Just keep calling. It gives you something to do. The mechanics of pressing redial can give you a chance to feel as though you could control the uncontrollable fate.
And while I had no news, my heart reasoned that BoyWonder and his collegues, and his sister were alive.
I finally reached my SIL's office.
A very, kind voice, calm and with no alarm in its intonation said 'Ahh, she's just returned. She has been in the courtyard smoking all morning. I have never seen her smoke before.and now she is at it all day. Here she is!'
Oh,Pendullum she cried"I didn't want to wake you with such news. What are you doing up?'
'I dunno know I have been up for hours.'
And with this, Ann cries... allows herself to cry..'I just got word. He's safe.They are all safe. I have not spoken with him... But one of his collegues has just spoken with him... I've been smoking and crying, all morning. Why the hell am I smoking??? I don't smoke!'
'Pendullum,' she sobbed, 'Pendullum... I walked him to King's Cross Station at 8:40... I thought he went in.. I, I saw him go in...'
I knew at this point the bomb at King's Cross went off at 8:50... My poor sister in law had thought he went in...
For certainly she did see him go in... She watched him enter King's Cross Station and then she went on her way...She ran, as she was running late for work.
Ann did not see BoyWonder turn around. She had no idea that he had to turn around as he reached the turnstile. For as he reached the turnstile he had realized he had forgotten his tube pass back at the hotel... BoyWonder had to retrace his steps.He had left the station by 8:42 am.
For two, horrendous chain smoking hours, Ann had thought her brother was caught in the tube. Logic had told her he was. Logic had seen him decend. But how could we logically believe that someone could plant a bomb and take so much away from so many innocent people. So many people who were going about their day. So many people who kissed their loved ones goodbye and went about their business. Logic made no sense.
Now, BoyWonder did not know that there was a bomb on the tubes... When he returned to the tube station, it was closed. It was closed due to a 'mechanical problem'. He was told to set on foot. And since BoyWonder knows the city, through his endless models, he made his way on foot. He walked and walked, in the stifling heat, with hundreds of other Londonners. Everyone was going to work as like any other day.
There was calm. All was ruly.
And finally, he thought to stop a Bobbie...
The Bobbie informed him of a mechanical, electrical problem on the tubes...
BoyWonder assessed that this was perfectly reasonable explanation and continued to walk... Continued on, with the mass of commuters, inconvenienced, due to the electrical problem.
And about a mile from his first encounter with a Bobbie, he saw another,and asked of the progress with the mechanical problem...'Sir, there has been a terrorist attack... We fear hundreds dead This is not a mechanical problem.'
'Hundreds dead? Terrorist attack?' This made no sense with all the orderly behaviour all around. This defied the logic BoyWonder knew.
And 'It' hit BoyWonder. It hit my husband. It hit for all that was lost or could be lost...
It hit him to think of how many mothers, children and husbands could, would be on the tube...He had been on that tube for the past few days. He knew some of the faces. He knew some of the people's faces on the daily ride on the tube, those who kissed their loved ones goodbye would not have the chance to see them alive again. Not to have another moment together... Not to have time...
He had to pause, as how could he keep walking with such knowledge in his heart, and the immence sorrow on his shoulders... Terror was beyond what he felt... He felt loss...a profound loss for all those who could be in the tube...
How could he not have a moment to cry???
And then he realized, he realized others may be thinking of him. He tried to find a vacant phone booth. The lineups for the limited phones were endless, as all the cell phones were no longer working, as London was on high alert lock down... Cell phones could be used to detonate bombs. All signals were blocked. A city of millions which is entirely reliant on the cell phone was left looking for old style phone booths.
BoyWonder realized he would just have to get to his meeting,and call people from the office...
When I spoke with my husband, I was relieved and resassured. I informed him, that I would call his family and that I would tell our Scooter.
He did not think this would be a logically wise move. He did not want her to know. He felt it was too much for our daughter.
But with so much on his plate, he did not argue his point any further and left me to make the decision of what to do.
Now, dear reader after such a scare, you bask in the normality which follows. You are grateful for the routine in your chosen life. But only after you have a moment to embrace what truly could have been lost. And you cry. and then when you finish with your tears of gratitude, you then become overwhelmed : overwelmed for those who did not have the call saying their loved one was safe.., And you cry for your fellow man. You cry for all who died. and for those left behind. I cried for London.
And when my daughter arose, I cherished my 'normal' morning. I cherished every second. I savoured the moments. I drank in my daughter, I savoured her smell, I savoured the lilt of her laughter. I savoured her complaints of how it was too early to go to camp. I enjoyed reminding her that she indeed needed to brush her teeth. And I took in the moment of brushing her long hair, I looked at its length, its unique colour, its smell of lavendar and they way it fell on her shoulders. I lost myself in her.
And when it was time to embark on our adventure to camp,I certainly did drink in the purple finches melody as he serranaded us this particular morning.
I know I held her fast.I know I was grateful.I know I held onto the moment.
Maybe I stood a bit longer than usual as I watched her being embraced by her friends? And maybe I had a bit of a cry as she disappeared with all of her friends. I can not remember my blur of emotion which filled my soul in which I had to leave my daughter to her normal day.
And when I picked Scooter up from camp, we seized the day. We had a grand adventure in our city. And with the grand adventure beneath our belts I took my daughter to her favourite restaurant for dinner where I did tell her of the events of London in the morning.
And she looked at me and said'Momma, I know... Scores of injured and twenty dead!'
How did you know that? Scores? How do you know 'scores'???
Momma, it was on the radio this morning. I know. I heard it on your radio.
Honey, I am so sorry, I should have talked to you about it sooner...
Momma, if it was something I was supposed to know you would have told me...
I know, I just maybe should have told you earlier...
Oh,Momma... Why did it happen???
Now, there's a loaded question, and really logic escapes me on the answer.
And as I wrestled with the answer, I marvelled at how she asked questions, waited for answers and then asked more. She knew there was no solid answer, but she in all her 7 year old wisdom, who still believed in fairydust and unicorns, could wrap her mind around such issues. I was content to have that moment... I was disturbed with the topic, I was heartbroken with the events which lead us to talking at the sandwich stand, but I was so grateful to be talking about the events, as an event of the past and that effected our family and so many others. We had empathy for LondonEngland. We felt great sorrow for London and of her citizens.
We went home a bit more sombrily.
And when Scooter's dad called , she ran for the phone, she did let him know that she loved him and missed him. She asked him to stay safe. And that she is sorry for LondonEngland.
And just as everything seemed to be settling down for the night. A girlfriend of mine called to see how I was coping.To see how my heart was settling,and as I seemed to finally be at peace, as I talked about how the events unfolded, something happened.
I looked over over at my window and where my daughter's budgie resides. Her crazy bird, did some kinda bizarre yank of the beak, as I was on the phone and as I watched, in horror. He had ripped his beak off... There was blood on the window, I was mortified.Oh, my gawd... What the hell is that???
I told my girlfriend I had to goooooooo...
And just as I went to examine the bird.. Scooter screamed and came down the stairs with blood dripping down her face. I quickly put a cover over the bird's cage, I could not deal with the bird,my daughters blood, and my daughter's reaction to her pet's Harry Carrey moment.
Somehow Scooter had knocked her front tooth out and she was bleeding a great deal. She looked like a miniature Dracula after a kill. It was the last of her front baby teeth, and she was not too concerned with the blood and the suddeness of the loss. Scooter was more excited about the prospect of the tooth fairy's arrival. The blood would stop and there was indeed the promise of magic this evening.
I could not get caught up in her moment. It was all too surreal with the budgie in the cage and my mini Dracula excited about the visit from the glittering collector of teeth. I needed to buy sometime to try and figure out what to do with Scooter's pet who looked like Popeye with a mouth filled with spinach.
I cleaned my daughter up, I put on a movie for her and then I went to call my girlfriend who is a vetranarian assistant...
She can not believe the events of the day and gives her condolences as logically Crystal,the budgie, with a ripped beak, will not make it til morning. Crystal had just a brief moment of time to live. I was to make her comfortable, and keep the cage dark as budgies go into caves to die. She does not believe the bird is suffering as it is calm. It will just pass.
I know this is not the news I can give my daughter. I can not give this information to her, not with her dad away, with bombs that have gone off in subways,not with my birthday looming and certainly not when there is the promise of fairy dust and magic in the air.
I can not begin to digest all. I just need to make it through the night without my wee daughter seeing Popeye the Horrific Budgie downstairs. I chose to call it a night and deal with everything on a new day, as the 7th needed to end.
I went upstairs, read stories with Scooter and to my surprise I fell into deep slumbers with her.
I awoke and my first thought was Popeye the Bird. I went downstairs and prepared for the worst. I lifted the cover and there he wa,s still alive, and taking a drink of water... and looking a bit crazy as he obviously has tried to groom himself with his/her faulty beak, he chose to live.
And then as I stared at the crazy Budgie, I could hear the thumpthaumpthaump of my daughter's graceful decent...
I put the blanket back on the cage and smiled wildly at my daughter...
She is very upset...
She didn't come!
Who didn't come???And as the words flowed off my lips,I remembered... I remembered that the world was still filled with miracles and I had let one down...
The tooth fairy didn't come...
No dust, No magic... and she took the tooth but didn't leave anything behind...
'Oh, Honey, there has to be some explanation... But we are running late for camp...
Lemme make breakfast and you can eat it quickly upstairs in the TV room.
Really?in the TV room?? Breakfast? she squealed.
Anything to keep you away from the next disappointment, thought I...
And my daughter dutifully ate her breakfast and got changed. And I , was only too grateful that Popeye the crazed bird, did not make a sound. I was fearful of it squawking and drawing attention to its new fangelled look.
But I still had to figure out a solution,and think of a miracle for my wee daughter...
The tooth fairy had let her down...
And as we walked to camp, it dawned on me... We have two cages at home...I could go to a pet store get a 'replacement' for Crystal, our ill fated Pirate Popeye budgie a budgie of the same colouring and I would purchase a 'mate' from the tooth fairy...
I was able to breath a bit easier...Just drop Scooter off and then head to the local pet store.
Easy as pie...
I picked up the two budgies, I whisked home, found the new cage.
I quickly wrote a letter from the deliquent tooth fairy, poured water over it, as it would look like I retrieved the note from her aquarium beside her bed and went off with confidence of fairy dust on my hands, to pick up by daughter from camp.
Ahh, Scooter, Look what I found in your aquarium...
And with that, a face sprang to delight... Fairy dust...
A face where miracles and the truly unexplained can come to light...
And certainly more explainable than the happenings of July 7, 2005.
And when BoyWonder came home, he was held. He was kissed and savoured. He did make a cake with his darling Scooter,and she forgave him, as they went shopping for the perfect gift of LOVE for her Momma.
And just as a footnote, Popeye Crystal, the Crazed Budgie, lived for a year in our basement. A room which was never used. And he was happy there. He never had to hear orders of children squealing their names for him never to repeat. He died ironically enough July 6th the following year, and left with a song. He had found his voice and then died before it could be discovered by Scooter. A deep dark secret along with the true markings of July 7,2005.
The miserable two Budgies, who were markers for July 7th, the replacements, squawked continually, with each other and died shortly after Popeye finding no voice at all.
We, now only appreciate the melody of the Purple Finch, as they are free and remind us of special moments, moments which can not be captured. They always command us to stop, to look up, to appreciate their splendor in their song. It always takes a few seconds of carefully listening before we can locate the maker of the beautiful melody. Sometimes they are hidden in trees, or maybe on top of a house, and sometimes they are out in the open on a wire, or maybe sometimes we can not find them at all, but the glorious melody causes our hearts to fill with delight. It sings for the sake of singing. BoyWonder, Scooter and I have had many Purple Finch melodies since July 7th, 2005, and I am grateful for taking the time to appreciate the moments when logic escapes us, when hearts break, and mend, when fairy dust makes more sense than the logic which faces the world, and sometimes they can all be wrapped up in the pausing for the song of a Purple Finch.