School photo day. Half the kids dressed like outrageous paper dolls in impractical, unseasonal outfits by their parents. The other half just hustled in for their turn before the camera before they wipe the inevitable nose goobies through their hair. One boy in a dark corduroy sportcoat over his t-shirt had the look that made me fall in love with my ex. Every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man.
Class group photo. Moving the lunchroom benches. Lining up tallest to shortest. What a miracle to get everyone to smile and Ms. Nancy to not blink without crossing the line into laughing chaos. All day expecting a voice mail with the final news of a friend. Snap the picture before I cry.
Staff photo. Six women all rushing to be in the back row. All pushing their glasses higher up their noses.
Radish photos. The first planting of the season in the school garden. Snapping the photos to document kids poking holes in the dirt. The cup of tiny seeds blown over. Praying the watering can bearers would sprinkle and not flood the expectations. Walking away to hear of the tsunami in Japan. Oh, the radish seeds!
I lied to my father. Thursday he let me spoon him the soup from the bowl he kept trying to locate with finger tips that no longer feel. Friday, slapping my efforts away. The aide would take over. I had an appointment, I told Dad.
An appointment with sanity. A date with the creek. A conference with woodpeckers, robins, Mr. Mallard. A wren sighting. A buzz from the PA system. Another buzz. Oh, the warning call of a tiny gray titmouse in gray suit and pointed cap telling me to get lost. Tufted or black-crested? Definitely sharp-dressed.
Clean shirt, new shoes
and I don't know what I am gonna do.
Silk suit, black tie,
I don't need a reason why.
They come runnin' just as fast as they can
cause every girl is crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man.
© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder