Mama used to say that the day would be a good one if there was enough blue in the sky to make a sailor’s pants. This morning, I walked the dog under a dull white sky.
“Just a short walk, I have to work.” I told my hound. Really, I said, “Pas trop loin, il faut travailler aujourd’hui.” I said it out loud, holding the vowels to create a fuller sound. I had to meet with a French-speaking mom and I wanted to exercise my mouth.
My mouth has grooves of a lifetime of English and decades of Spanish. The paths of my French mouth are grown over from disuse.
Last night I watched, “Haute Cuisine” to jog my ear. The subtitles flashed to remind me of a word. Repeat it. Repeat it. Uncover the paths, build that muscle memory. My mind told me I was forcing it so I got out the ironing board and half-listened while I ironed clothes. Smoothed out wrinkles in the shirts while I worked to wrinkle the front of my mouth to form French correctly.
I drove to my meeting through a flurry of snow. Whirling pellets on the windshield. I spoke with the mom and occasionally my mind would pause and there was a swirling snow squall in my brain. No words, just a voluptuous static. I had to let it be to see a bit of space in my brain and to allow the word to appear on my lips.
I was lucky the mom was sympathique and that there was just enough blue in my mind to make a pair of sailor’s pants.