Monday, September 22, 2008
She found the place by accident, needing to sit somewhere, and even though the place was deserted, it looked warm; something she was not. She scoffed quietly to herself when she read the name. The only heroes in this world were sandwiches. The ones she saw on the worn pages of the crumpled, dusty, comic books she found when cleaning out the attic in her parents house didn’t count.
They were her brothers’ old comic books, boxes of them. Next to the boxes of his clothes, school papers, trophies, and all those damn pictures.
If you didn’t know the family, you’d think he was an only child.
She may as well not exist.
She was the one left, the one who took care of the final arrangements for her father last week, saw to it that the bills were paid, cleaned out the attic, and the rest of the house, and finally, today, turned the keys over to the realtor.
After staring stupidly at the blurred words on the laminated menu, the gum-cracking, saddle shoe tapping waitress took her order for ‘just coffee, please.’ She didn’t even drink coffee but it seemed the only way to make the waitress and her scent-shroud of menthol cigarettes and hairspray go away.
The coffee came and she mindlessly dropped a sugar cube in to the cup, stirred.
She watched the street hoping for something to happen.
Something that might tell her what to do next.
She thought about the little pistol. It was weird, discovering her father owned a gun. Why did he have a gun? It wasn’t old, clearly not an heirloom of any kind. Yet, there it was, clean and well protected in its little case.
She took it home the day she found it. The pistol and its pretty little bullets.
Since then, she’d caught herself day dreaming about it. In her mind, the steel glowed, almost too bright to look at, like the face of watch caught in the sunlight.
She could sell it. She should turn it in to the police station. One of those amnesty things. It would be less trouble that way. No questions. No explanations. No admitting that she really might not have known her dad.
She wiped a stray tear away.
She heard someone come in and sit order coffee, like her. She glanced over her shoulder and their eyes met. He smiled, then nodded at her. She tried to return the smile and turned back to her cold coffee.
The waitress returned; asked if anything was wrong with her coffee. She shook her head, and ducked her gaze, as the waitress tucked her bill under the saucer.
She rose to leave, glancing at the newcomer. She avoided his eyes as she passed, but felt him graze her sleeve with his fingertips,
“Young lady? His life is over. Not yours. Get rid of that thing”
His gentle words propelled her out to the street and the tears came.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Your result for Reincarnation Placement Exam...
We think we've found a place for you.
Your answers indicate that you're very fond of the fruits of civilization... for example, education and technology. But, in some twist of irony, you're not too fond of the pressures of civilization... you know, human beings and crowds and working together. We found you a place where you could enjoy an erudite existence, live a life that's intriguing and not entirely secure -- but far from the madding crowd.
Removed from civilization and humanity, yet educated and sophisticated, you'll make the perfect reclusive artist... An eccentric that produces irresistibly attractive masterpieces. Your art will make people swoon, and yet you will despise your audience. Your audience will probably dislike you as well, though they will go on admiring your work. So it all balances out, and your patrons will leave you alone to shape beauty in the wild, dangerous parts of the world where people won't pester you so much. Probably, you will write under a pseudonym, and mutter a lot when a rare admirer comes calling. If you feel really adventurous, you can pursue the role of a political dissident.
As you age, you will grow into the role of an incorrigible curmudgeon.
You artists, you're all the same.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
On July 4th 2004 I quit smoking. On July 5th, 2004 I started running.
The first thing was a simple decision to not die before my mother. I simply did not want to put her through the act of burying another child.
Yeah, that's really why I quit.
The running thing was more complicated, one part distraction from grief, one part the not dying before my mom thing, and two parts wanting to do something that was HARD and a little bit like punishment.
I'm currently still saving for the therapy I probably need to sort that last bit out.
I've been struggling with my running since I moved to North Carolina in Spring 2005. I've had one injury after another, struggled with finding a gym I didn't hate, and had a horrible time sticking to any kind of training program. I promised myself this year to get my act together and train for an event.
My life finally feels like my own here. I'm not sure what took so long, the complete career change, the leaving the life/place/friends I've had for 20 plus years behind and moving somewhere I knew absolutely no one. Nothing in that to make me feel little off-kilter, right?
There is no way I can train to run 26.2 miles when my kilter is crooked.
Just after the first of the year I started planning, and I started with the need to lose some weight that had found me. It's funny how when you stop running 30-35 miles a week and don't stop eating like you're still running 30-35 miles/week - the weight just finds you and hangs around.
This summer I had an annual physical, and yes, for the person that said "don't you think you should be over that by now" four years after losing my brother I get all choked up when I have to talk to a medical professional about my family history. The nurse practitioner I saw said great things about my health, my blood work, my body weight and actually asked if she could record my heart for teaching purposes (Ohhellzyeahyoucan) I'm approaching "a certain age" and so I heard a lot of sentences that started with "a woman your age should..." I'll be unhappy about this another time, currently I still feel too good about the visit to get all weird about growing older.
Somewhere between that and the weight loss meetings I've been attending, I've been doing some significant thinking about my health.
I think it started with my mom, she'll be 76 this year, still drives from south Florida to North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and/or New Jersey and Massachusetts about three times a year. She walks about 5 miles a day, and runs around after her two youngest granddaughters almost daily. My mom, she is no slacker. My dad is about a year older, and my last email from him said he had just finished his first book (to be released at the end of September), and is going antelope hunting in Montana and deer hunting in western Nebraska later this fall. My dad, not a slouch.
Both sets of my grandparents were dead and gone before I was out of grade school. Two, I never met, were dead years before I was born.
I have no intention of lecturing anyone on taking better care of their health. None. I smoked for years, and have been known to eat a tub of cool whip for dinner. In college I lived on free donuts the cops brought us, coke, stale coffee, Ramen noodles and Hormel chili for more years than I can to remember.
I do want to say this though, just about an hour ago, my sister Karen called me, to tell me she is a grandma. Her son, Matthew and his wife Erin welcomed their first baby girl, Jodi, into the world tonight. My mom is a great grandma. That little baby doesn't have any way of understanding how many people already love her, but I'm grateful to be a part of a family that loved themselves and us enough to take care of themselves so they could be here long enough to meet her.
For all it's warts, and age spots, this life is not so bad, and I'll take the warts to hear the happy in my moms voice when she tells me about her first great-grandbaby.
*I am tired of trying to title posts - I am using the first phrase that pops into my head when I put the blinky cursor in the title box. Deal with it.
Monday, September 1, 2008
I hope none of you are laboring on labor day.
|You Are a Pistachio|
You're very different than anyone you know.
There's no way you're changing the way you are...
Which is good, because no one wants you to change.