Monday, March 4, 2013

Fearful Symmetry

In a weird symmetry both the Someone and the man who loves me have been very sick with the flu. I would not know of the Someone's condition, of course, if it weren't for the fact that I have contacted him a half-dozen times asking him to please get a new court order to formalize the lowered alimony he began paying in January. He has invoked his illness as an excuse. A good excuse, as excuses go, but making a phone call is probably not going to spike a fever. Then again, I've become physically ill by having to root through a box of divorce papers.

I haven't seen the man who loves me for a month. Like many who've caught the flu this year, he's had a relapse and sounds positively awful.

Meanwhile, here in Margaritaville, the days tick by in their own symmetry. When I come downstairs in the morning, my mom is already up. She's opened the curtains, and fed the cat, and is standing in her spot at the kitchen island looking out at the water. I go to the gym, and when I come back, she's still there in her p.j.s drinking her re-warmed coffee. We talk. We read the paper. We talk about the paper. I eat my breakfast. She goes to her room to crochet and read, and I go up to my room to read and write. I come down for tea. She has her lunch. I have mine. She re-warms the last of her coffee. Off we go again to our separate retreats.

At five, the ancient cat meows for her special ancient cat milk. My mom gives the cat her "cocktail," and  pours her martini. I begin to prep for dinner and maybe race off to the store. Seven--we eat. She does the dishes. I put away the food and wipe down the counters. I brush the ancient cat while she takes a last scroll through the news on the iPad. She says good-night. I say good-night.

I read. The New Yorker. Jack Gilbert's poems. One of the many books from my MFA colleagues. Prairie Schooner. Missouri Review. The pages from my writing group. And sometimes I blog. When I hear the beep of my mom's oxygen machine turning on, I sink deeper into the reading or the writing. At my desk in the dark, I look out at the shining black water and marvel at rings radiating across the surface. Sometimes I open my window and listen for the heron's croak or the deep gasp of a sea lion as it comes to the surface. I take a deep breath, too.


Elizabeth said...

What a beautiful and lonely piece. I want the Man Who Loves You to get better quickly and make that month away shrink.

Ms. Moon said...

In a way, this sounds perfect in its symmetry. I am so sorry about the Man Who Loves You but he will be knocking on your door again soon.
I like to think of you in your room, writing and reading. I like to think of your mother in her room, crocheting and reading. I like to think of the sea lions, the herons. I like to think of the water which connects us all.

Alberta Art Classes said...

So sweet.

Pauline Gaines said...

I completely get feeling sick when going through divorce papers -- even nasty e-mails from my Someone. Hope the man who loves you recovers soon, but in the meantime, the way you describe your days with your mother (love that she drinks martinis)makes them sound lovely.