She is limitless

“Never limit yourself because of others’ limited imagination;
never limit others because of your own limited imagination.”

– Mae Jamison

She is as simple as daybreak.

I don’t think she’s ever had a new pair of glasses — not least the frames — in the 13 years I’ve known her.

She commutes to work in car like so many people in Connecticut. She teaches middle school privileged white kids (the really privileged ones) in Westport, Connecticut, how to be an orchestra.

But this is middle school, so even though the property taxes are high and the labels are exclusive and these kids undoubtedly take lessons — none of the amalgamation of sounds are all that great. Better by far than 2nd grade “Hot Cross Buns”, but nothing near enough are the tuned harmonies to make it reach the label of “orchestra.”

But these are her days — and added to them these many years are the complications of meeting state requirements for learning and meeting IEPs and meeting special needs targets — things which seem insurmountable when one is tuning one violin after another over the cacophony of tween chatter.

The side truth of her is that this is the gravy. The meat of her arrives home to her rented duplex in a shadier suburb she lives in with her husband who wanted to be an actor but who put it aside for awhile to homeschool the boys. They are now all  older but not old enough– still working, not wealthy, and she propping them all up with her middle school orchestra salary.

At night she reads– every night she reads, page after page, piling up the castoff books like lovers she’s destined to leave.

This is the expanse of her — the untended prairie where she can roam looking for the sweetest sweet pea and never worrying if she’ll fall over Earth’s edge. Now she’s adorned in a dress and a bonnet. Now she’s grappling with aliens. Now she’s walking dark rainy streets of post-war London. 

Once in awhile she’ll put down the book and play the violin herself, when she feels a feeling from the story that can’t be contained otherwise.

Then when the semester ends and the two of them exit to the pond in the County and settle in for a summer’s Maine — with her adrift mama, and mama’s Maine Coon, and the loons that call out from the center of the lake.

From the writing prompt: Write about a woman who to you is limitless. From the Writing Workshop Kansas City.

Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home.