I think of you as dead

I think of you as dead.
Love is not dead, not mine for you.
This is not respectful to those
truly dead. Yet you are dead to me
in that you lie and say forever.
Torched and ashes, now it’s never
and the real you is dead to me.
I love the you that made a different choice,
that loved me back. He holds my hand
and walks with me and laughs with me
daily. And there is nothing you can do
to stop him and me. If anyone asks, you are dead
to me, dead forever, and I will love
whoever my heart chooses, for all time.

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I found the chalcedony nodule on Indian Island yesterday.

Dance card

When we danced at Glen Echo in the 1980s, there was dance etiquette. We did not have dance cards. Instead, we would see someone we wanted to dance with, sometimes while we were dancing with someone else. One finger meant next dance, two meant the one after that. If both were taken, a head shake. No one could remember beyond two so the etiquette was not to make promises beyond two dances!

Dance card

We finally meet again at a live band dance. I have not seen him since August. It is January.

“Hello!” says T. “Where have you been?”

“That is a great question!” I say very cheerfully.

He is looking at me.

“Oh, what a great song!” as the next song starts. I tap my foot.

He narrows his eyes a little, but replies “Shall we dance?”

We dance really well together. We have danced off and on for nearly twenty years. I asked someone for his last name just a week ago. I may have known in the past, but I had forgotten. It doesn’t really sound familiar. I do know he worked for years in counseling.

The band is loud so not conducive to talking much. The dance ends and he twirls me to a close embrace. He walks me back to the tables.

“You have not been at dances much.”

I blink at him. “You said your dance card was full.” I say.

“What?”

I sigh, trying not to exaggerate too much. “You asked me personal questions. Then at the next dance you tell me that you have a woman for every night of the year.” I flutter my lashes down. “I do hope you mean dancing.”

He is silent, absorbing this.

I am channeling my Tidewater Belle mother-out-law. “Ah am sure you are very busy.” I look modestly down at my lap, glancing across his lap as I lower my eyes. .

“Hmmm.” he says.

“Ah was so amazed that you had a woman for every night of the year that I could hardly bear to go to dance.”

I look through my lashes. He is studying me.

I smile sweetly. “Perhaps you could let me know if your dance card clears a little. Mind you, dancing only. Ah can be a little old fashioned about some things.”

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The story is fiction. The photograph is from my wedding, 1989. He’s hamming for the audience again. I do not know who took this!

Hopes rise

Our Christmas plans are busily crashing and burning. I felt ill and tested covid positive two days before my daughter was due from her city. ALERT, ALERT, DIVERT! I called friends who agreed to pick her up at the airport and let her stay for the five days of isolation. I stay out of the car so the germs will die. I call her after her work on Friday. She takes it calmly and calls a friend to pick her up. I miss her, darn it, but well, I am not on a ventilator or dead. Doing well, right?

She stays with her friend. She plans to join me yesterday but then snow. School is canceled. She and her friend sensibly leave my car at the entrance to the ridge road the friend lives on. She has to use the chains anyhow because someone has slithered off the road right in front of my car. Still grateful, because they did not hit my car.

She makes it to my house, chains on. She heads downtown to Christmas shop but the store she wants is closed. I ordered her a present that needs to be picked up, but the pick up is Tuesday to Saturday. They don’t list a phone. I ordered it on Sunday and they had emailed “Pick up now” even though it’s not “open” on Sunday. I email back, “Can’t, covid!” Now I email again and say would they contact my daughter or me so she can pick up. They do, but well after she is home. Still grateful, because they are open today. Maybe we’ll get it!

My daughter has been looking forward to time with friends but the snow has screwed this up. Maybe to time with mom, too, but mom has Covid. I am eating upstairs, she is eating in the basement, and same with sleeping. We are both masking and everyone is sick of that. It’s cold outside and the band she wants to dance to cancels. She misses meeting a friend downtown because of chains and needing gasoline. I am still grateful. Not dead yet, right?

Now I have email from our flight saying, well, maybe we’ll go. We are supposed to fly later this week. It looks like the big storm will hit Chicago and Buffalo and Boston. Cross fingers as we head for Dulles. Might make it. We discuss going to Sea-Tac a day early but that would mean sleeping in the same hotel room and no, we aren’t going to do that. Friends say they CAN get us to the airport. Super grateful for those friends!

When things are going all awry and life seems like rather a mess, we do Happy Things. That is a check in at the end of the day where we list three Happy Things each. My son was having a miserable half way through the year first grade move when we started this. The thing is, they do not have to be VERY happy. They can be more along the lines of “No one has poured boiling oil over me today.” or “Not dead yet.” It’s complaining reframed and it can be very very funny. In first grade one of his Happy Things was “We did not have the pizza that tastes like cardboard for school lunch today.”

So my Happy Things yesterday were: “I am not on a ventilator! I am not dead! We have super nice friends who will take us two hours to the airport!” If you start low enough on the Happy Things scale, there is no where to go but up.

And a Happy Thing for today: “I think the sun will rise!”

Happy Solstice.

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The photograph is Emerald, one of the Anna’s Hummingbirds, all fluffed up in the cold and guarding her feeder. There is a bird photobombing the background. I think it is a song sparrow but it was very early and the light is not great.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: rise.

Yesterday

A triple play: a loss, a gain, a change.

Yesterday

Yesterday our friendship died for good
A small death that won’t be noticed
I want to place a small cross on the day
to mark this death and life
life because my small child is gone
she grew up, now part of the quiet woman
who came to me in a dream
when you left
you move on and tell me you won’t change
so you will find another to draw close
and push away, terror
that you will be trapped
you already are, in your own mind
you say you want freedom
in refusing change, that is death
slow and alone, is lonely different from alone?
call it freedom as you wish

I want to grow, I want to learn always
you want your past, your dead
you tell me I am keeping you from your life
you have it back I say as music restarts
I don’t, you say, my brother is dead, my wife
I did not cause those
they happened before we began to walk
and yet you blame me
like an angry child

I am in the gardens wandering
I am in the gardens wondering
the gardens of the world
everything is a garden
though some are planted with skulls
and young people fighting
It is strange to feel whole
I do not know what to do with it yet
but I will

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I have fallen for this band. I am really enjoying them.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: triple.

The happiest day of his life

When I was a preteen, I got my first Spiderman comic book. I was enthralled. A hero who had powers, but had a grandmother, responsibilities, made mistakes, felt guilt and confusion. I wanted this, not the princess crap. I did not want a prince to ride in and carry me off. I did not and don’t trust princes. The wedding being the happiest day of a woman’s life: what the hell? Is it the happiest day of the man’s life? If not why not? It’s important to the woman to be married to her love but not the man?

And anyhow, the Disney movies were very consistent. There were no good Disney Queens. The good ones died in childbirth, or were absent, or their ship went down. The stepmothers were evil. The princess career ended with marriage. Pregnancy either kills you or turns you evil. Actually, sex turns you evil if you are a female. That was the very clear Disney message judging by the animated features. Virgin girls are pure princesses but there are no adult female role models for years and years and years. By my preteens I wanted to drive my own wagon: I was not going to be taken care of, controlled, or left poor and with small children through divorce. I would have a career and children.

What IS the happiest day of a man’s life? Do we have any map of that? When they are promoted? When they buy twitter? When they are elected President? When they get married? Why do we have a happiest day for women (and is it the marriage or the sex?) but not for men?

In the romance novels, the man is usually older, “experienced”, rich, and has a reputation for seducing women. The woman is often a virgin, or she has a child because there was an evil man who she thought loved her, or the older man got her pregnant and she never told him. She knows it is true love because she is pure and yet is overcome by lust, so it must be true love. Snort. I have always thought this is stupid and silly. So men in the novels are experienced, have sex with lots of women, and then are carried away by lust that turns out to be true love with this woman? What about all the others? Did they think it was true love too? Or were they “bad” women, who had lust without true love? Impure, not virgins, not a “good” girl. Seems pretty confusing to me. Often the virgin gets pregnant because, hey, she is carried away by uncontrollable love, so of course she would not think about birth control. What is the experienced man thinking? Hey, let’s get this one pregnant, I’d like to pay child support? Oh, he’s carried away by uncontrollable love, but really now, you’d think after all that experience that he would use birth control. Apparently the rich experienced older seducer males are all morons when struck in the heart by true love. These books should be burned, really.

Anyhow, I was suspicious of the princess story and I wanted my own horse and armor and sword and I’ll fight my own dragons, thank you! I was much more interested in the super hero story, even though the superheroines were still pretty lame and likely to get killed off. Oh, and girlfriends get killed off. Gwen dying from fear during a fall: give me a break. Yuk. Made me glad she was dead if she was that much of a weakling. At least she couldn’t reproduce. I liked Mary Jane a whole lot more: feisty.

I wanted to be a superhero and still human, not a princess.

So what is the happiest day of a man’s life?

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The cat is Boa, not Sol Duc. Boa died at age 17 right before Covid-19 started.

Elephant

My daughter got the elephant in the mail yesterday.

She called me, very happy with it. “It has a TAIL! It matches the pillowcase. I love the fishy fabric.”

The back story is that when she was a baby, her father’s mother made her a pillow. It had two pockets. In the pockets were four small stuffed toys. Her older brother has one too. The toys were not exactly the same. Hers had an elephant.

When she got sick earlier this year, I start sending her care packages. I send the pillow with three of the stuffed toys. However, I don’t find the elephant.

She loves it but asks, “Where’s the elephant?”

“I’m still looking.” The elephant is pink, with fabric ears that are different from the body. I find it! She is coming here for a month, so I don’t mail it. She is very pleased with the elephant.

It goes AWOL before she flies back to work. “Check the tent, mom.” She stayed in the tent in the back yard with two of her friends. I take the tent apart. No elephant. I check the sleeping bags. I sweep under her bed and search the house. As my daughter says, my house has a lot of hiding places and the cats like the elephant too. No elephant.

So for her birthday I make one. I remember how it looks and I make it while watching some continuing medical education. It’s easier to hand stitch than to get out the machine. I have to buy a large bag of stuffing, because the store downtown only has one size. Never mind, maybe I will make more elephants.

I made her a pillowcase last year, with the whale/mermaid fabric and the fish. So the elephant matches.

And she likes it! Hooray!

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My daughter says I can’t make clothes for her, but pillowcases and elephants are great! A breakthrough!

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: breakthrough.