Colorado is full of sun and stars, so I hear. “It’s sunny 360 days of the year.” The plains are wide. The people are quiet, and the sky is vast. It very well may be full of stars, but I cannot tell. During my visit the skies over Loveland, Colorado are stuffed with silver, seamless clouds. I haven’t seen a dot of blue atmosphere in days. That being said, there are pockets of warmth riddled in the canvas of snow and fog.
Today, we weathered the slush in pursuit of something a bit more substantial than meatballs and beer. Our adventure lead us to Damn Good Tacos, which was sadly closed until the end of the week. Licking our wounds, we climbed the steps above DGT and entered the Alley Cat Cafe, where we enjoyed espressos diluted with milk to our respective preferences.
Coffee was followed with a quick bite at a local deli which was subsequently followed by beer at Odell’s where Mr. Hamilton and I talked literature. I bemoaned the melodrama of Peter Watts. He lauded the stylings of McCarthy, then went to pee. I was left with Olive, their stern browed bundle of joy.
Over the past couple days, Olive and I have become fast friends. She looks introspectively at the world through dangerous, sapphire eyes. Olive is a hyper sensitive little lady, a quality excused by me in light of the fact of her recent birth. She takes things a bit more personally than I would normally tolerate in polite company, but again, she gets a pass. She is presently emotionally absorbed with chewing on her fingers and wriggling out of her diaper changes.
I mentioned before that I was concerned with our little Olive being a mirror that reflected the most unkind parts of myself back at me. At best, I assumed that I would feel a little guilty for not having more to offer her in some metaphysical way. Now, I have to smile a bit at my own melodrama, because if that baby is indeed a mirror, I am damn cute.
In this process of exploring the best me that I can be, I have found myself worrying most about how this will affect the people whom I care about. Most of them applaud me, seeing it as a long awaited metamorphosis. They have been waiting for these moments of self discovery. Back in Kentucky, my closest friends have brought me to tears with their levels of foresight and understanding. They anticipate my changes and accept them before they are fully formed.
What about loved ones who are not even fully formed themselves? What about Olive?
I don’t know. I recognize that I have very little influence over her especially if she remains states away. I suppose I am just afraid to be so emotionally attached to a creature who cannot even spell their own name. I have been rigorously guarded when concerning my feeling for adults, but now a child has entered my sphere of influence in a way that has left me feeling completely inept.
Olive has not even arrived at her first birthday, and I am already worried about the heart ache that life will no doubt inflict upon her. It scares me. It makes me feel silly, but not in a way that makes me laugh. My visitation with the Hamiltons was prefaced with a lot of unspoken apprehension (I had not seen my brother in person since the divorce). I didn’t want to burden their little family with any more drama.
Things feel simple in Colorado, though. My fears concerning Olive’s future are distant and vague. My worries about burdening my brother and sister-in-law are about as baseless as most of my worries.
The Hamiltons and I spent the rest of our evening at Loveland Aleworks. We had “one more beer” several times before we actually left, and just before writing this, I stood outside with the Hamilton’s dog as he defecated in snow that almost reached my knees. It was quiet, save for Cooper’s raspy breathes, and I looked up.
Clouds still veiled the Colorado sky, but I knew that behind them were symphonies of unseen stars. Around me, the snow glittered in scattered winks. A breeze shook drifts of powder from a nearby telephone pole. The air was crisp, and I now sit inside their quiet home, thinking of stars, of olives, and snow. I came inside to find Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton taking a shower with each other and Olive cooing in discontent from their bedroom. I tucked her tightly in her fleece cocoon and lied my head on her tiny chest. Her heart beat steadily as her chirps died down to humble, sleeping sighs.
I end today thinking this: some days, there is nothing to learn other than to learn that there is nothing to learn.