The boys, who clear every bit of the leaves on my lawn, speak Spanish. I do too. Or at least I once did without stopping to translate in my head. These days I have to clear the cobwebs in my mind to find the Spanish words that were once right in front of me. I like to chat with these boys who are patient about my Spanish and younger than my 24-year-old son. I tell them my mother was from Cuba, and they say dreamily, el clima. Yes, the weather – the beautiful weather.
These lawn boys are bone-tired. They sleep through their lunchtime on my front lawn. The abandoned mowers are helter-skelter in my yard. The boys – all limbs and torsos – fall into a similar arrangement.
On a golden fall day – a day we New Englanders cling to for its moderate temperature and cloudless sky – the lawn boys unloaded mowers, leaf blowers, and yes, even rakes for clearing those hard-to-get spots.
Before they endure a harsh world of complaints about the noise the blowers make, they take out a soccer ball. Suddenly, they are kicking the ball around on my neighbor’s long, expansive driveway. They are playing – so beautiful in motion, and for a moment, don’t have a care in the world. Whooping and clapping for each other, their friendship unites them. I come outside and clap, too, happy for their moment of levity. Their laughter is the noise of delight; their game is a snapshot of love.
Judy Bolton-Fasman’s memoir, Asylum: A Memoir of Family Secrets has been recently published by Mandel Vilar Press. Her essays and reviews have appeared in major newspapers and literary magazines and anthologies. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Mineral School.