I don’t want to push a certain kind of lifestyle on my children. I fully expect them to pack their bags and move to the city the moment they turn 18 and never come back. They’ll likely be repulsed by a horizon void of civilization.
But here is my secret desire for Molly, who I am starting to see as a person now. With a future.
I want her to go to college, of course, maybe someplace far away with hustle and bustle. I can’t quite see what her occupation is yet, but she will excel at something that can land anywhere, and so she will land in Chicago or D.C. and she will be there living and loving life and traveling and learning, enjoying, for the most part, the company of useless men.
And I will be sad, but I will ease my suffering with the knowledge that at least she knows things, and that will make her cool among her hipster friends. And she will have a collection of old Mason Jars that the hipsters will covet. Maybe she will make really good pies from scratch. Or noodles. She will take something with her.
But while she is gone, I will wait on the porch that Seth built with a sly smile on my face.
Because if the bomb I plant in her brain sets correctly, about the time of her 254th cultural festival, she’ll pick up a pamphlet for a weekend horror movie marathon and she’ll find her diverse environment growing stale.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
Suddenly, the milk she pours on her Cheerios (old habits die hard) will taste … what is that? Chalk? How do they even call this milk? And where is the green? Is there any color but gray? And while she is searching the horizon for a blade of grass, she’ll look up, noticing a few stars, but she’ll wonder whatever happened to the GALAXY. And she’ll scrunch up her cute little nose as she gets on the subway because the air is missing something – and for a second she’ll feel panicky like the exhaust of public transportation might choke her.
But the nail in the coffin will come in the form of a grossly large, plump strawberry. One Saturday at the Farmers Market, she will assure the vendor that what he has handed her is NOT a strawberry. And she’ll long for the tiny bursts of fruit she plucked as a child.
So basically, she’ll move back to Bangs, Ohio. Because she wants to.
She’ll marry one of Cute Hay Guy’s sons, and she’ll pop out 10 or 12 babies, and she will ask me to help her can truckloads of produce to sustain them, because, let’s face it, there’s not much economic opportunity in Bangs, Ohio.
And I will die an old woman, at midnight, in September, moments after we’ve put up the last batch of tomatoes to feed her family in the bleakest of Januarys.
But I’ll turn off the pressure canner before I croak.
Because I’d hate for my last act to be, you know, blowing up her house.
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