She placed a series of pages near the edge before she placed a smallish box before me, and then another across the table where she took a chair. With the scent of wax on the air, I glanced uncertainly at the telltale marigold and green cardboard, and wondered that Crayola should once again wander into my life.
“We are coloring Halloween pictures today!” proclaimed she. I tried to conceal my grimace. I was encased in my depression at the time, and in no mood to play. Taking pity on her pleading eyes, wide and luminous, I withdrew a crayon.
Sounds of rubbing wax filled the room as we scribbled furiously on clean white pages. At the tumult, we waved our finished works and she pouted, “Yours is better! Mine stinks! Thanks a lot!” I huffed in frustration…what did the twerp want from me? This was her idea in the first place…what was I supposed to do?—draw a sucky picture?
No, I wasn’t. You’ve got to nip these things. It will be important for her to know that life isn’t a competition, it’s about doing the best you can with the ability that you’ve got. I sat her down and smoothed her brow as I said, “Momma, grow up.”
I wonder if, on October 31st, 1517, when the monk Martin Luther nailed his 95 points of discussion about the current practices of The Church to that wooden door, effectively beginning The Reformation, he realized that people would one day honor it as the day of the dead?
Well, friendlier to some. Today is the day that you get an extra hour of sleep, as opposed to that nasty bout of it in the Spring where you lose an hour. Then, there are people like me, who are unaffected by the extra hour of sleep and simply find themselves with an extra hour to twiddle their thumbs in the morning while they wait for other people to get their snoring butts out of bed.
But, I digress.
Brenda changed most of the clocks around yesterday while she cleaned house. It made for painful tinkering of the brain cells last night as we tried to figure which time it really was, and which time it would be tomorrow at that time, and when is bedtime again? I have all of one clock downstairs, the alarm clock, which I changed yesterday afternoon before meeting up with Sarah, a longtime friend who I fell out of touch with when I moved to North Carolina some three-and-a-half years ago.
I say that I only have one clock in my subterranean loft in jest, naturally. There are also the three attractive “tick tock” clocks that are displayed in a tasteful manner around the area. I love them. I love them so much that I haven’t allowed them to work in all the months I’ve been in Wisconsin, having denied them batteries.
However, as I changed the time on the microwave and used a chair to hoist myself up to a clock situated out of arm’s reach , I remembered the package of double-A batteries stashed in my drawer. While I think they really did add a little extra life to my underwear drawer, I remembered with great guilt that they had been purchased for the clocks some months ago. I have behaved selfishly. I’m going to have to think of another way to give my underwear the pizazz it craves, for the day has come for the clocks to tell time.
Plus, I figure the ticking will give me a toe-tapping soundtrack during my moments of sleeplessness—and if you can’t be sleeping, toe-tapping is the obvious second choice. I see good things coming my way. Hell, if my clocks work correctly now, life can’t be too far behind…right?
I begin feeling the pangs from an oft forgotten sweet tooth the very day Anna posts a picture depicting a gathering of comely tarts. To compensate for the tarts that I obviously cannot have, as they reside on the other side of the Atlantic with Anna and Rob, I eat a raccoon-sized wad of Halloween-inspired cake.
By the echos of my belly’s angry gurgles, I’d say it’s going to be a long night. Thanks a lot, Anna! Can’t you just ONCE make ugly-lookin’ food? HUH? 😛
I awoke with a smile on my face that morning. I stretched with feline laziness before rolling effortlessly from the bed. I disengaged the alarm before it had a chance to sound and tip-toed up the stairs to the bathroom. It was four in the morning, and I was the only housemate awake. I gingerly fought with the microwave door to open soundlessly as I prepared blueberry oatmeal, and settled down to my laptop to sip my coffee and write: it was peace.
It is gone now, my peace. That morning, two weeks ago, was the very last time that life felt right.
“It’s just so ironic,” I told Mom last night as I prepared to face the desolate corridors of my dreams. “I felt like my life was well oiled when this happened…I felt like things were finally clicking into place. I felt secure and happy. I liked my morning schedule and it set the tone for so many happy days.”
“So get back to your morning schedule.”
I try. I get up and force myself to drink coffee. I keep thinking, “C’mon…you love coffee! Have another cup! Another! Another!” I finish the pot of decaf every morning and wonder what to do next. I try to convince myself that my hyper optimism hasn’t gone on sabbatical. I open to a blank page in my journal to write, and I can’t stand to see the words that flow when I raise the dam. I’m not ready with the sandbags yet. I update this website, and I find it easier to relay conversations or commercials than to admit that I’m struggling, faltering.
Mom knows. Mom knows and she says, “Maybe the test of your strength is going to be to find humor in life even while it’s caving in around you.” I feel like I’m hovering over the side of a cliff, and my hands are bruised and busted as they cling to the jagged blades of rock. It hurts to be where I am right now. It’s going to hurt a lot more if it’s ever going to get better, if I ever get the urge to climb back up.
Perhaps I will need to force that urge. “C’mon…you love the joy of life! Have another look at its beauty! Another! Another!” And, hopefully, the pot will not empty, and I will have no reason to stop. I know the path, but I struggle to comprehend the way.