Sunshine can spoil a girl. And then she's gone and it's another gray, damp, full February day. Work is full, housework even more so and she can tell you the exact contents of her fridge in an attempt to use every last bit of food before she has to go to the store again. She negotiates with her children, soaks lentils, pulls out the rice cooker again, frozen chicken thighs, again. Soon it's almost eight and the children still have to finish their bath, brush their teeth, read their books. The night feels like a long, slow loop, every night she's a bit more exhausted than the last.
Perhaps it's more of a challenge when her sister, Sunshine, is back in the land of swaying palms, of eternal seventies, far, far away, again. The winterless, dry lands, the mama and papa lands, lands of oceans and spices and rosemary always in bloom, always free. Here she spends another four ninety nine, checks to see where this little package was birthed. California, indeed.
She's a dweller of this mountain valley now, such a fixture, sweet Jumbo a guiding light. But when there's Sunshine and her Mini, their dance moves and carefree smiles, their go-with-the-flow and ridiculous cases of the giggles, it's harder to embrace the long, dark days, the frozen ground and colorless views. It's a come down, after all that sun, another shift in perspective.
For now, she holds on to Sunshine's voice and photos, the plans they've schemed late night. She holds on to the way her girl is so patient with her little cousin, the way her boy was all fierce possession and staunch beliefs. She holds on to Mini's renditions of show tunes, her cadence and ridiculous rhythm. She holds on to husband home soon, after so many late nights, so many dinners and clean-ups alone. Maybe that's what this is all about. Embracing how isolating it can all be, the heavy mist and spoiled counters and family far, far away.