Sunday, December 26, 2010
Rabbits and Babies and a Brown Corduroy Sportcoat
It should be a glorious day. Except that it's Sunday and the college allows visitors to this historic monument on Sundays. There's a line of folding chairs snaking through the rooms and each one has someone sitting on it. The balconies are thronged too. The view. People want to see the view. This is the first I've heard of this sanctioned invasion of tourists. Shouldn't that have been disclosed when I bought the place? Shouldn't Lily have told me? I don't quite know what to do, so Suzanne and I pull up folding chairs near the balcony off of the compact kitchen and take in the breathtaking mountains. The trees on the nearby lower hilltops are swaying and through the lacy branches we ooh and aah over the peaks.
"I've got to be going," says a man sitting next to us. He extracts a brown corduroy sportcoat from a teetering hall tree--then realizes it isn't his. Someone has taken his coat by mistake.
"You men have such similar clothes," I say. I want to make him see how easily the mistake could have happened, but he's offended. It's obvious by the way he's handling the left behind jacket that his was far superior. "Gray, navy blue, pinstripes, the occasional brown corduroy," I say, still trying to redeem myself. The people around us chuckle, but the man goes off in a huff. I feel bad and I wish these people would leave. The babies, especially, are beginning to get to me. They are everywhere. Parents have pulled all the pots and pans out of the cupboards and the babies are napping in them. Tiny ones swaddled in loaf pans. Hefty ones stuffed into soup pots and dutch ovens. Little by little the babies wake, and parents bundle them up. "See you next Sunday," they call to one another. We'll see about that, I think.
It's getting late, and I want to help Lily so I offer to bathe her pet rabbits and put them into the pet carrier. As I'm toweling off the second one, I notice it's a cat. By this time, Lily's parents have reappeared and her father is unloading the freezer. I've been buying Lily's groceries to help her, and I want her to take whatever is left.
"Look at this fish," Lily's father says, holding up a frosty packet."Bottom feeder. Not good." The implication is that the fish is contaminated. I've bought his daughter contaminated fish.
"Don't worry about it," I say. We can feed it to the cat."
"The cat that isn't a rabbit."
Just then the grounds crew/maintenance crew arrive. They're fitting a new railing onto one of my balconies. It looks like it's been salvaged from somewhere else, but they're making it work. Shouldn't it be custom made? I think. All those people leaning over it every Sunday. The boss of the crew is notoriously mean and gives me the evil eye which discourages me from telling him what I'm thinking. I've got to talk to the college, I think.
But I'm too busy worrying about the rabbit. How does a rabbit turn into a cat?
When I awoke with the man who loves me lying next to me in my bed, he began to tell me his dream of wandering through the rooms of a strange house, meeting a round-faced little boy and finding the backpack he left behind.
photo credit: council of independent colleges historic architecture project