Thursday, April 29, 2010

And Your Mama Drove a Pinto

My husband and I were helping our friends wash the dishes one night last weekend.

We always eat at their house when we get together, even if I cook.

Our house has a way of taking kid noises and magnifying them.

(((((The triumph of the short and loud people!)))))

Somehow, our friend's place doesn't echo the way ours does.

Anyway, as we washed and dried, we told stories.

David made some reference to his childhood and the 1970's.

The Mayor, who has a bad habit of eaves dropping, decided to suddenly join the conversation.

With a wild, eye-popping look of complete incredulity, The Mayor said,

"You were ALIVE in the NINETEEN HUNDREDS???!!!!"


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Furies

Without knowing why, both my husband and I sat bolt upright in bed at exactly the same moment.

Only seconds before we had both been sound asleep, but at that moment we felt panic and some kind of unknown terror.

The curtains were blowing straight into the room at a right angle.

As we flew out of bed down the stairs, I noticed that each step was slick with rain water.

We frantically searched the cabin for flashlights, candles, matches… some source of light.

Except for the wind, everything was eerily silent and we wondered why we were able to see.

The sky was lit up by what seemed like a pulsing strobe light. It was as if lightening was striking over and over again, but there wasn't any thunder calling after it.

Rain seeped in around the seams of the door and down through the stove vent as though wind and water had become one.

When we finally located two candles, lighters and a failing flashlight, we tried to go back to bed despite the unusual storm.

Stiff and wide-eyed awake, we were high in the cabin’s loft worrying about our children sleeping two floors below us in the tiny cabin's basement bedroom.

What if they woke up in the pitch black darkness of the basement and we didn't hear them?

What if a tree fell on the cabin?

Their room felt awfully far away.

Though we closed the window, the rain pounded relentlessly it’s tin roof and thunder began making up for lost time.

I am not usually frightened by storms, but I found myself afraid.

After a particularly loud thunderbolt shook the foundation of the small cabin whose location at the foot of the Appalachian Trail was chosen to provide a long weekend retreat, I threw the covers off.

I ran down the stairs and called over my shoulder to my husband, “I’m going to the basement!”

I crawled into the tiny single bed where my daughter slept and hugged her warm little body in to the curve of mine.

The basement bedroom was a windowless, cinder block cell buried deep in the forest floor.

Thankfully, the sounds of the storm were muffled there and I slept as well as any grown up can when sharing a twin bed with a four year old.

In the morning we woke to the world’s most beautiful day. The sky was bright blue and birds were singing.

The little cabin was whole, but without power and water.

Looking outside we discovered that a giant pine tree fell and crushed the cabin's fence.

Perhaps the sound of the tree smashing the wooden posts was the noise that woke us so suddenly?

We later learned that a tornado had touched down less than a mile from our cabin.

I am haunted most, not by near misses and what might have been, but by the storm's eerie light, pulsing, bright and silent, like white, hot anger.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Big Tease

If you're coming from Izzy Mom, awesome. If not, start here.

For more of The Big Tease, you need to go here.

More on this later!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Known Terrain

I reached for his foot in the darkness of our bedroom the other night.

I felt its shape in my hand and traced the outer edge.

I touched the hollow behind his ankle remembering the time before the children and even before that.

I recalled the time when any inch of him left unexplored was intolerable, when time spent on any other activity made me mad with impatience.

A moment later, grateful for the trust and familiarity we have now, I reached up to his thigh and put my finger on the exact place where a childhood accident left a rough scar.

Even in the dark I know exactly where it is and just how it happened.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Fragile Ecosystem

Earlier this week, K and I learned that a couple, whom we are close to, are struggling.

In January, the husband told the wife that he'd had an affair and that the affair had ended.

It took our friends three months to tell us.

I cringed, wondering what inane frivolities I might have talked about in her presence over the last three months.

"It's okay," my friend said. "It was kind of nice to pretend nothing was wrong sometimes."

I hate thinking of her suffering all that time without my knowing of it.

Her husband didn't want her to talk to me until he had summoned up the nerve to confess the affair to my husband.

He and K are close and he felt sure his confession would end their friendship.

But K and I are in no position to cast stones.

Still, I am enraged on my friends behalf.

I am vengeful.

Let the wrath of the Almighty fall upon he who hath caused her suffering!!

At the same time, I am empathetic to the shame and humiliation her husband is feeling about the poor choice he made.

He turned himself into everything that is middle aged and cliche even knowing, as we all do, that the cost might be his family and home.

I can easily imagine how sick he must feel, filled with stomach churning regret.

They aren't making any decisions right now.

They are in counseling separately and alone.

And my friend, my friend is so sad.

She's so hurt, so stung, and she feels like there aren't any good choices.

She wants her family back but isn't sure it can ever be the same again.

Is forgiveness of such betrayal really possible?

Can people honestly recover from this?

Since we learned about the affair, K and I are tense and thin skinned.

I returned to full-time work about eight weeks ago and this shift continues to make the routines of our daily lives harder.

There are so many pick ups and drop offs to negotiate.

The lunches have yet to be packed, the permission slips are strewn across the kitchen counter unsigned.

Who will attend the egg hunt at 3:30 on a Tuesday afternoon? What of the class trip to the Zoo?

The stress of our relentlessly negotiated balancing act on top of the high pitch of the whining and the repetitive quality of each day leaves our fuses short.

With our friend's news, even the smallest disagreement causes one of us, mainly me, to burst into tears.

How fragile the ecosystem of marriage and family seem.

I don't know what will become of our friend's marriage.

Our friends may recover and stay together... or not.

I imagine they will be altered somehow either way.

I am heartsick.