The Narrator Broods

Posted by on Aug 27, 2017


I can be the kind of melancholy person who dreads endings when things are still new.

Maybe this comes from being a mother—I’m brokenheartedly anticipating a child growing up and leaving me while that very baby is pawing sweet potatoes into his hair, smelling like cotton steeped in milk, eyelashes curled like a fawn’s.

On the first Christmas Eve after we had our first set of twins, I dressed them up in sweaters made by their newly minted grandma. The sweaters were knit to look like little tuxedos, one with a green bow tie and one with a red. I took pictures of the babies with sparks of tree lights in their eyes and I cried all the way to church because their first Christmas was ending. It was 3 pm on Christmas Eve, all we’d done so far was put those baby sweaters on and take a photo, the festivities hadn’t even begun. But I could already taste how swiftly it was flashing by.

Today those babies are four years old. This afternoon one of them caught a little moth in his dirty hand and brought it inside for me, held it up to my nose waiting for me to exalt in how much I loved it. Which I did, and the next moment he was banging the door behind him, gone back outside, and the moth was gone too.

When I love something, I can’t help but dread the ending.

And I love being the Pfister Narrator. I’m only three months in, and I know this is only a one year position. I know that at the end of the year it will be over, and it seems like that time is already starting to barrel toward the edge of my sight.

But the mother in me also knows that it’s crucial to wring every bit of life out of my days. I don’t like to waste time, or energy, or potential, or ideas, or really any fleeting thing.

So tonight, in this wistful mood, I sit at the Narrator desk on the lobby stairs. Every time I sit here, clacking away with all these words, someone comes up to me to delightedly say that they’ve never actually seen a Narrator sit at this desk. Each time, I resolve that I will sit at this beautiful antique desk every single chance I get. Because the days are vanishing, aren’t they, and when will I sit in such a desk again, a desk with drawers that have held untold letters and words and thoughts through the years?

The Pfister won’t grow up and leave me; it will be the other way around. But the doors will spin and spin and new faces and new stories and new words will always come.

In the meantime, I will brood from this antiquated, beloved perch of mine. I will watch and write and catch them, the stories like small delicate moths.

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