© Melissa Dalton-Bradford and melissadaltonbradford.wordpress.com, 2012. This work (text and images) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. . . which means, as long you’re not selling it, you’re welcome to share, but please remember to give me a link and mention my name.
It was a “Sadderday”, as Luc called it, when we broke the news to the boys that although we’d promised we’d stay in Singapore for many years after moving there from Munich, we’d instead be moving in a matter of weeks to the other side of the earth. And it was because of that sad news that I made a wild and irresponsible promise.
You do wild and irresponsible things when you feel somehow responsible for hurt you see in your children’s faces. It’s that hurt, maybe you’ve seen it, that creeps outward, beginning in the pupils then spreading to the brows, to the upper lip, the chin then forehead, like a time-warp paralysis. And then the tears rise like a mini-tide in their eyes making their blueness swimmy and inaccessible.
It’s exactly that sight that causes me to make wild and irresponsible promises. With wild and irresponsible speed.
“Hey!! Waitaminuteguys!! I’vealreadybeenonline!! Anduknowwhat? Knowhat?! Guesswat!! Yournotgonnabelievethis. Listenup: ColdplaysgonnatourEurope!”
Arctic silence. Not of anger. Nor of pouting. Just frozen disbelief. Both sons.
“Heydontchagetit?”, like a glacier splitting, my squeak interrupts the polar ice cap noiselessness: “SwitzerlandsinEUROPE!!”
I’m trying with the super-suction of words to ShopVac confusion and sorrow from their souls, tears from their eyes. But this time words aren’t working. I try not to focus too much on Dalton’s cheeks flushed like he’s just run the Great Wall of China. And Luc’s head hung heavy in his hands. Like he’s just built it.
So I try on the voice and vocabulary of my very wisest friend. “When I saw we might be . . . moving . . . from all your incredible friends,” (they wince), “to new friends — incredible ones — I’m just sure you’ll make,” (wince again), “Guess what I did . . . out of love for you? Uh . . . still listening, Luc?”
He’s propping his face with hands flat over his eyes, elbows pinned together, dug protectively into his lap.
“Okay. . . hon?” I watch the shoulders to be sure he’s still breathing. Randall and I exchange glances. I can tell my husband feels sick at heart about this. This frequent-mover thing we do that sometimes, like this time, hits us broadside.
“I’ll tell you . . . Dalton? . . . Luc?” I’m whispering now. “Y’with me?” Wordless nods. “Oh. . .O.K.”
I’ve got that lip-spasm thing going on, crumpling a smile I wish I could hold tighter, and I taste that bulge of emotion pushing up my throat like a mudslide. You know that razor’s edge where you could blip any second into runny-nosed, squawly crying. Or swallow the mudslide whole.
I choose to swallow.
“What I did was, I went right to Coldplay’s website. Because . . . I thought maybe since they hardly ever come to Asia,” (subliminal message: Bad Asia! Flee Asia!), “Well, they must for sure be touring Europe.” (Good Europe! Want Europe!) “They’re touring soon, guys. Like … this fall.”
A weak eyebrow rise from two boys who at least, at this point, meet each other’s stares. Then they resume their isolated slumps.
“Isn’t that … grrreat?!! I smile, head and shoulders tilting a bit too far to the left, like a human question mark.
Luc twitches and wriggles in his chair, I keep talking to the cowlick on the top of his head as he cradles his whole face in those long, slender fingers of his. Dalton is a soft stone, alternately searching our eyes and a corner of the ceiling.
And both boys — one with his head buried, the other with his countenance riveted — are calculating, (I can practically hear the cogs turning in their heads), counting up all the kinds of loss that leaving means.
“And so I want —” I jump into those turning cogs, “—We want to make you a promise, Dad and I ” (a wild and yes, irresponsible one, let the heavens note it.) “We want to promise you that if in fact this goes through, and we . . . move . . . from here . . . Dad and I will in fact get us tickets to a COLDPLAY CONCERT.”
Okay. So they don’t spring up and cheer.
And the man named Dad looks at me flatly.
He’s thinking sensibly, bless his heart, not sensationally, (bless mine), and is mentally fingering around all the details that need to click-clack in place like a Rubric’s cube in order to make such a promise even plausible.
He scoots to the edge of the sofa, elbows on knees, hands clasped, fingers kneading each other nervously, apologetically, and leans his heart into the conversation. His own sadness at doing this to our family —another move?? — cracks through a bit:
“’Right, Dalton. Luc. I can’t make promises I can’t be sure I can keep. But. But I’ll do what I can –– again, nothing’s 100%, right? So no one gets their hopes up —but I’ll do what I can to make that concert somewhere happen. Sometime.”
(Oooo, I love it when he’s so wildly responsible.)
And so do you, reader, because thanks to Randall, in the two day window between this bulletpoint and that one, we caught a super economy EasyJet Geneva-Copenhagen round trip flight so that we (and “we” includes you, vicariously) could visit that übercool city.
And, yes, so that we could be at an überüberÜBERcool Coldplay concert.
Which, if you wait one day like we had to after arriving in town, will überfill my next post.