Thursday, December 30, 2010

the one where my child sleeps past noon and I dawdle

(this entry is vaguely related to the Reverb 10 prompt from Dec. 24: Everything's OK. "What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?" (Author: Kate Inglis))

Last night when I drove off to pick up the pizza the Girl and I ordered for dinner, I wore my daddy's jeans jacket over a sweater over a long-sleeved gray, Hanes T-shirt over a gray sports bra (I am dressing like a boy these days). I was only a little bit cold. The temperature was above freezing, and the snow was vanishing, seeping into my ugly "not grass."

"Spring!" I thought, and little joyous feathers fluttered in my belly (and I think about how it felt when the Girl quickened when I was pregnant because I think about the Girl a lot).

Then, of course, being me and all, I panicked. "Oh, God! Spring! I'll have to do something about the yard in spring. And I'll have to get the house power-washed. I need to get things done in spring that I can't afford to do.

"God. I hate spring."


My husband is leasing another car. It's sort of what he does. He's been eyeing this pretty red convertible for more than a year, and the deal truly is amazing, too good to pass up. He's become friends with the salesman at the Infiniti lot near Columbus. The management at the car lot even offered my husband a job last year, though my husband is not a salesman; he's a professor. I met his Salesman friend last year when my husband took his current Infiniti (which has an IQ of 187, so I will never even attempt to drive it. I can't even figure out how to turn it on) in for service, and I rode up with him for a reason I can't remember now.

Salesman is beautiful. He's a good man, father of grown children. I don't know if he's still married, but he's so beautiful, with his coffee colored skin and long, thin hands, perfect shoulders shrugged into his perfectly cut suit. I stood there gawking at him thinking, "I'd do this man in the break room if he'd let me."

When my husband called this morning to try to get me to approve of his urge to lease the convertible ("Am I fucking crazy?" "Yes, you're fucking crazy." "You weren't supposed to say that. You were supposed to tell me it's a good idea," he said and laughed), I told him he should tell Salesman that he's the Devil. The Devil isn't some creepy, red dude with horns and a tail (I don't actually believe in The Devil). He's beautiful, charming, does good deeds, probably attends church and sings in the choir, makes a person laugh, convinces a person that it's right and good to lease yet another car. When this person leases another car, the Devil owns another little piece of his soul.

"As long as I have this car, he can have my soul," my husband said. "But I'm not going to tell him you called him the Devil. He's a really Christian fellow," my husband said.

"Oh, then he wouldn't laugh. He might be offended."

I don't know, though. I think he'd think it was funny. He might be offended if he knew I wanted to "do him" in the break room, though.

(* update at 6:16 p.m. - I guess the deal is off. Sounds like B (my husband) decided he was being foolish and decided he didn't need another car.)


I have lost my thread. It has something to do with the Reverb 10 prompt about things being OK. When I started drafting a response (I've drafted a response to all 30 of the prompts but haven't finished about a third of them), I started writing about a moment over the summer. It had to do with the Girl's trip to see my brother's family in Texas over the long July 4th weekend, the flight she took alone, her first flight alone.

And, yes, that was a good moment, seeing her independent and happy, laughing her way through security with her boarding pass clutched in her hand. We knew, or I knew, she'd be just fine.

The next step of the prompt puzzles me. I think Kate Inglis is encouraging us to apply that secure feeling of relief to the coming year, to tell ourselves ahead of time to feel "all right," make a kind of a declaration?

(Pardon me while I sneeze three times.)

Some things will be OK. Forever and ever OK. But I just don't know. I can't predict. I won't predict that I'll ever feel that sense of "OKness" again. I'm sure I will, but today, I am on edge, and even though I can write about the moment when I knew my daughter would be safe on her way to see her uncle, I don't feel a sense of safety today.

I feel ... anticipation, maybe, hope, maybe, anxiety and doubt.

Eh. Whatever. I guess I've failed again. But it's all right that I am unable to incorporate "OKness" into my future. I'm starting to feel like I'm taking a Trigonometry class. I want to enjoy learning, but my mind just can't grasp those mathematical concepts, and the attempt is hurting my head (literally. I have a headache) and makes me feel a little bit stupid.

And old. I feel very old.

Things will be what they will be (sorry. The song "Que Sera Sera" was played in a minor key on a show the Girl and I watched last night). They will be OK or they won't be OK.


I've spent a lot of time "raging" since Christmas, quiet anger born of fear and ancient grief, a little bit of habitual self-loathing. I don't know. I don't know. I need to get back to my work. Even though I write every day and have grand plans to focus and work hard to finish "real" projects, the holidays are always so distracting, more powerful than I am.

I feel better today, though. I feel drawn to a story/novel I started writing a few years ago. Dark, dark story. I love it. I love the characters. I love the setting (a Greyhound bus).

Maybe I'll print it out (if I haven't already), read through the bits that I have, see if I can juggle working on that story with my "main" novel in progress.

In this story, the characters are completely aware that things may not be OK, that they could be consumed by the hateful things chasing them at any time.

Funny how I love this story of fear and escape. (and battle. they will battle against the bad things eventually. And settle. They will settle and stop running).


bad excerpt (just a note: Sylvie is pregnant):

Sylvie leaned her head back against the high head rest of the bus seat and squeezed shut her eyes. She would not give in to nausea. She was just tired. She’d have some peanut butter crackers in a minute, sip some water.

Someone in the seat in front of her cleared his throat, so she opened her eyes to slits and looked into the pale face of what she guessed was a boy, slick black hair hanging in eyes so black they looked like a stalking cat’s. Gold stud pierced the lower lip, tiny gold hoops penetrated earlobes and nose. This boy was more full of holes than a colander. He rested his chin on the seat back and gazed down at her. He licked his black painted lips.

“Do you have the time?” he asked.

Sylvie opened her eyes all the way. “No, sorry, I don’t have a watch. But it can’t be much past 3.”

“So what do you think?” The boy’s face shone white, almost waxy.

“What do I think about what?” Sylvie asked. She thought she knew. She thought he wanted to know what she thought about him, if she thought he was a freak, if she was afraid, if she wished she could be so cool. But maybe not. She didn’t know much these days.

“What do you think about the bus? About this day? About life?”

“I think this is a pretty nice bus. Very roomy. I’ve had better days. And life is a huge surprise.”

“Good answers,” the boy said, but more to himself than to her. He got up and came to sit down in the empty seat next to her without asking her permission. He had to hand her the bag holding her laptop and other junk that she’d laid next to her.

“Oh!” Sylvie wasn’t prepared to have a conversation. “But, I’m not feeling…” The odor of stale wine rose off the boy’s skin. “Oh.” She held the bag on her lap for a moment where it had landed then slid it underneath the chair in front of her. He leaned his shoulder into hers. The fabric of his black rain coat was slick and slid easily against her sweater.

He held out his hand. His forehead almost touched hers. “I’m Armande Sortilege.”

No, that can’t be his real name, Sylvie thought.

“Sylvie.” She placed her small hand into his. His hand was huge and pale, the short nails painted black. She noticed the polish was chipping. His skin was as cold as she expected it to be, but clammy rather than dry. She suspected Armande would be disappointed if he realized that he was giving the impression of a geek in costume. She wondered where he was hiding his glasses and pocket protector.

1 comment:

  1. Reading this post reminded me that the feeling of "all rightness" only comes after or during or because things don't feel all right or aren't all right. It is impossible to predict and impossible to impose it.

    I'm fond of dark stories too.