When I was pregnant with Faye, I didn’t know if she would be a girl or a boy, or when precisely she would arrive, but I knew that when she finally came, there would be roses in the neighborhood to greet her. There would be the pale pink roses that cascade over the black fence near our old apartment, the red roses that hang in heavy festoons off the front porch of the clapboarded house on Joralemon, the single neon rose that pushes up next to an old air conditioning unit down the street, the wild roses that emerge from a tangle of thorns around the corner. Junebug’s roses, I called them.
A week ago, when my parents were in town, James and I (and tiny Faye) took a long walk with them around the neighborhood. It was the kind of amble whose route was dicated more by the particular slant of the dappled sunlight on one corner or another than by any real destination. We chatted as we walked; my mom sang to Faye; my dad mused about real estate prices. I forced myself to walk at a pace more nearly aligned with the desires of my body than my brain. We gawked at rose bushes.
Eventually we wound our way around to the ice cream truck that sits at one of the Promenade entrances, tempting tourists and neighborhood regulars with its perfect swirls of vanilla soft-serve and rainbow sprinkles. When he saw us, the driver smiled at James and asked after Faye.
“How many weeks, now?”
“Almost three,” James replied, lifting her bonnet to reveal a milky pout between flushed cheeks. She snorted her hello.
This is our fourth summer in Brooklyn. It’s the longest that James and I have lived in one city together and while we don’t know how long we’ll stay, it’s nice to think that we fit into the rhythm of the place. Because knowing the roses, like knowing the ice cream man, is the stuff that belonging is made of.
Welcome to your neighborhood, Faye-girl.