A neighbor kid is mowing the yard next door. He’s saving up for a car, so he mows that yard maybe more often than it really needs. His name is Hoke.
I wonder what kind of conversations his parents had about names. Maybe it’s a family name. If we’d had a boy, I don’t know what we would have called him. We never got that far.
I stand on the patio watching my dogs run around and consider the folly of how My Guy and I would discuss the benefits of boys versus girls. Would a boy be easier? One of each? As if we had a say in any of it.
I realize that damn creeping charlie is coming back under the tree at the back of the yard.
Maybe we would have named a son Wilson. It’s a hip-ish name like Hoke, except it really is a family name. It was my grandma’s maiden name. We could have named a boy after her, not her bastard of a father. He burned down his own son’s house and did unspeakable things to one of his daughters. His acts only came to light when she was in the throes of dementia, when she relived that horror in her broken mind.
We would not name a child after him. We do not claim him.
We would have been better parents. That bar is admittedly low.
It’s not a deep and painful thing anymore. It just kind of is. It’s confusing, and it changes shape. But it’s lost its barbs, its spiny hurts.
Older women know things. They have experiences they carry in their pockets, like rocks smoothed from wear. Perhaps I am among their ranks, ruefully carrying rocks but not showing them. Not throwing them, either. Usually. Unless absolutely warranted. Unless unmoored.
I trek across the yard to pull tendrils of creeping charlie out of the landscaping. It always leaves a sticky stink on my hands, but I am diligent, nurturing my little corner of the world.