28 November 2011

Arthur and Edith

This is the beginnings of a short story I'm working on.  

They had but one last remaining night together and they spent it sleeping.  Arthur always snored so Edith wore her earplugs as usual.  Rolling the bright orange foam between thumb and forefinger, the last pair in the box.  Fitting really for someone who hated waste.  Their dentures were already soaking in fizzy Polident though Arthur didn’t know why they bothered.  That was Edith, following the same routine for fifty years and if he skipped a step, like wearing the stripped pajamas on the night he was supposed to wear the blue plaid, she would get upset.  There was that one night when Arthur had stayed late at the office, mostly because it was meatloaf night not because of any real work he had to do.  Edith nearly divorced him, not because she thought he might have fooled around with his secretary but because he wasn’t home at 5:45pm to wash his hands by 5:55pm and eat dinner at 6:00pm.  
That’s why he had agreed to this, they were going to break the routine.  Life wasn’t going to continue along the predictable schedule that it had for half a century, life wasn’t going to continue at all.  Edith had initiated this.  She first brought up the idea a few days after he came home from the doctor with the diagnosis.  He had been late then too.  The first time they hadn’t eaten dinner at 6:00pm in over ten years.  Edith was mad when he walked in the door at 6:06 but after he told her they just sat staring at the kitchen table.  It had the kind of veneer that is made to look like wood grain.  He had been so proud when they first bought it, that they were able to afford such a nice piece of furniture.  Now it was peeling with age.  He didn’t remember eating dinner at all that night, just finally going to bed.
Arthur blinked.  The tears that had welled up now spilled down his cheek and into his ear as he stared at the ceiling.  “Edith,” his voice cracked as he whispered.  Nothing.  “Edith,” he tried again.  He turned his head to look at his wife.  The florescent orange circle in her left ear gleamed at him in the darkness.  When had they gotten so old?
Tomorrow.  They were doing it tomorrow.

(to be continued)

08 November 2011

My Little Girl

I’m sorry if you find this post cliche, but it is what is on my heart at the moment.  Every cliche was once new and fresh; and 
for me these feelings are just that.

“My little girl is getting so big.”  This is my new anthem.  I seem to say it every few minutes.  I look at pictures from the day she was born, note on the boppy where her feet used to be, try to snap the onesie around the bigger size diapers.  She’s only two months old, but my little girl is getting so big.  I know I will say this every month, every year, for the rest of her life but I still can’t stop saying it.  I say it to my husband when he gets home from work, running down the list of happenings from my day: smiles, coos and outfits she can no longer wear.  I say it to my mom as I strap my girl into the car-seat.  I say it to my mother-in-law when I catch her up on the essentials: weight at the latest doctor’s visit, how long she is, that the clothes she sent are still a little big but will fit soon (tomorrow maybe).  I say it to the cashier, the lady in line who asks me what aisle I got her in, the bagger at the grocery store; they all coo and claim how small she looks - but my little girl is getting so big.
My eyes are tearing up as I write this.  I know it’s cliche, I know it’s been said before.  But I want to stop time.  I want to revel here, in this moment.  I don’t want to let this go, not yet.  I don’t want to put away the newborn clothes.  I don’t want to finger the smaller sizes at the store; they will only look smaller and smaller as she grows.  Soon it will be impossible to remember that she was ever that small, and she’s only two months old.
I want to take another picture.  Another picture of her sleeping; arms signaling a touchdown, mouth gently parted, eyelashes dark against her cheek.  I want to take another picture but I know it will end up being just one more in the avalanche of pictures of our first child.  Really it’s the moment I want to capture.  The precious innocents and peace of my daughter sleeping.  The gentle sounds of her breathing, the coziness of her blanket, the cheeks I just want to smother in kisses but I won’t because I feel a cold coming, and I don’t want to wake her.

Is there a moment capturing device?  Something I can peek into when I’ve forgotten that baby smell (the good one, not the diaper one), when she’s fourteen and off to high school, eighteen and off to college.  When I start saying things like “time goes so fast” and “I wish I could shrink her back” like all the well-meaning mothers are saying to me about their daughters.  When I forget these new mom feelings and it starts to be “old hat”.
There really isn’t a conclusion to this.  It will just keep happening at every milestone, every event (big and small).  That sounds so melancholy.  There is joy in these moments, it is not all sadness.  Each milestone is a huge achievement on her part.  She is growing, changing and it is wonderful to watch.

02 November 2011

Found Poetry

I’ve thought about starting a blog for over a year now; mostly to have a place to explore writing.  Now I’m busier than ever: getting my Montessori Teaching Credentials and starting my Masters while my daughter is just a few weeks old (what am I doing to myself?).  But I also feel that this is the perfect time to work on my writing, perhaps because it is so busy, so full.  I cannot promise my entries will be timely, but I will do my best.  As I wrote in my journal a few days after Cora was born: I haven't had time to write about life, I am too busy living it, but here goes.
I have only written a few poems; and most of those when I was nine or ten.  Last night in my writing group we collectively wrote a found poem.  I enjoyed combing random, unrelated works for phrases and words to compile into something cohesive.  Here is what we came up with.

The Rattle Watch
Lifting the corner of the curtain
The pope did as others before him had done,
Crawled up with his bucket
-- Accumulated dirt of centuries  --
Embarrassed for all kinds of reasons.
The rattle watch was near at hand.

I drew nearer to the abyss.
Can this be dying?
Coming nearer and nearer
Hanging out your lights --
When I am not, what will there be?
God only knows,
I must calm myself - must think it all over from the beginning.

He sees this --
A white ribbon, serpenting from top to bottom
Written out in large clumsy letters
“Jesus Saves”.
Just that way, just there.
“Jesus Saves”.

--John, Rachel, Susie, Sue, Russ, Margaret, Gregg, Cindy