|heron with rocks and bougainvillea to take your mind off this post|
I am 61 years old, and I am wearing red pants. This is mitigated somewhat by the fact that my red pants and I are in a yoga class. But after this hour of serenity, I will drive to the seedy side of Hollywood, check my boyfriend out of a nursing home, and take him back to my house where he will take a break from the chemo and radiation that have been rendering him weaker and weaker. If chemo and radiation were assigned a color, in my mind, it would be red. So the red pants might be appropriate after all.
I do not like to buy clothes. Visiting the mall always propels me toward anxiety. I feel like a greedy consumer when I buy new things and much prefer a thrift store, but mostly, I don't shop anywhere; I just wear what I already have. I bought the red pants for daughter M to take on her 8th grade class trip. She has a master's degree now. When she abandoned the red pants early in her undergraduate days, I claimed them. They still look new, but usually I wear them only when my other two pairs of yoga pants, sedately hued in brown and gray and more than a decade old, are in the laundry. Today the gray pants were folded neatly in my drawer, but I chose the red pants anyway. I don't know why, but it seems important.
We're home. I make fresh juice. Two kinds of kale, celery, carrots, grapefruit, lemon, blood orange. M and the boyfriend and I agree that it's tasty--though I briefly consider dumping some gin into mine. For the rest of the afternoon, it's managed chaos. There are meds to organize and discharge instructions to digest. We need a glucose meter and test trips, so M goes to Rite-Aid. I discover there's stuff, "an appurtenance," the boyfriend calls it, attached to the chemo port and taped to the outside of his chest. Tubes with dried red blood in them, a white clip and a yellow clip. He thinks a nurse in the hospital put it there on Tuesday. He has no idea if this thing needs maintaining. I make him promise he will not try to uninstall it, and I call the nursing home and then the hospital where he spent some time at last week. I call the chemo center and talk to the doctor on call. No one has anything relevant to say, so I Facebook my ex-sister-in-law who's a nurse, and then I cook dinner. Rib-eyes on the grill, more greens with radishes and onions. Sweet potatoes.
I'm on the couch with M watching the watching the Clipper game. The boyfriend is in my bed, asleep. The blood in the tubes needs to be flushed, the sister-in-law nurse writes back. I fill my wine class, watch the Clippers win, all the while thinking of blood. Of red wine. My red pants. I might obsess all night over the blood in the tubes taped to boyfriend's chest. I might sleep, oblivious to all this terror, relieved that after two months away, he is finally lying next to me.