Wander This Way

It may or may not be funny in an ugly, not funny way but not very long ago I told my son, “You should watch the movie, ‘__________,’ if you want to know your mom because the lead character, that’s your mom,” and I don’t remember which movie I told him to watch. (Snuff, Stone Sour)

If I could remember the name of the movie, I would watch it. To get to know Jake’s mom. If I remember anything correct at all, I think I liked her for awhile. She was a good movie. An okay movie. A bit of a pot boiler. Some people like that sort of thing. (Creep, Radiohead)

Susan reminds me I was a teacher. Sometimes Beth does too. Whitney and Kim remind me I was a writer and an audiophile. My ghosts remind me of my soundtrack. (Panoramic, Atticus Ross)

Faith reminds me I was once someone who gave good advice. She remains ever vigilant in the belief I will not fail her. She was named well. (Wings for Marie, Pt. 2, Tool)

Dana reminds me I was once a fairly good caretaker and should not be allowed to wander off and fall in a hole. (Don’t Follow, Alice in Chains)

Ashie checks in, every now and then, to say, “How are you, I hope you are fine,” (Hey There, Delilah, Plain White T’s)

I am still right here. (Hurt, Nine Inch Nails)

Time Traveler

If I’d been thinking, when you asked if there was anything I needed, I would’ve asked for time.

Most people, when presented with a request for time, assume it refers to the future. They think, “I need more future,” is the ask. It seems to make sense.

Others think it means the present. They think the requester needs more now. More of this moment right here. Please may I stay right here. Put a pin in this.

But I would’ve asked for more then. A whole bunch of remember when. I would’ve asked to be sent back. So I could do some things again. So I could take more than notes. Find the places where all the things broke.

Everyone always wonders who my words are for. My answer has always been, of course they’re for you, silly.

But they probably aren’t.

But maybe they are.

And that’s how I like them to be.

Because that is how my now is.

And how I’d like your now to be.

If I could go back and do it again, you’d know for sure. But only then. And only if. If only, if only, if only.

I always looked as if I were thinking big thoughts. I maybe really wasn’t. And now we’ll never know because you never really asked. And all the moments passed.

Typical People

Typical people worry about job interviews. Cross country travel. Blind dates.

My anxiety kicks in on Sunday if I know I have a doctor appointment on Wednesday.

Typical people find me ridiculous.

If I can’t find a bra, my hubby won’t insist I go anywhere. So I accidentally on purpose hid all my bras from myself.

If I haven’t showered, my presence can’t be demanded. We’ll skip this topic in deference to my accidental on purpose dreadlocks.

My daughter messages me to remind me she will pick me up at 3pm for whatever. She knows I will sit in my living room with my purse on my lap all day until she comes. She reminds me to wear a big t-shirt because she knows about my bras.

Granddaughters are unpredictable. They want things like fast food drive-thrus and public swimming pools. My oldest granddaughter has learned I will hide if she says the word shopping.

My youngest two granddaughters just think I’m that weird lady they used to see sometimes who made bracelets with them or painted rocks beside them. They don’t expect anything from me anymore.

Typical people say things like, “That’s so sad,” or, “That’s fucking crazy,” or, “What the hell is wrong with your mom,” Grandma. Sister. Aunt. Wife.

Typical people suggest therapy. Writing. Journaling. Blogging. Xanax. CBD gummy bears. More cats.

Extreme typical people suggest I get a job or go to gatherings.

Typical people are outside. They drive cars and bitch about Karens. They interact with other typical people and make fun of anything atypical.

Atypical people stare at their hands. Forget absolutely everything. Leave their glasses on the living room table so they can’t see too much if they have to go in the backyard. If they are in their backyard it is because there is something back there they can’t avoid going back there for. Like their fucking cat got out because he is a cat bastard and there are squirrels out there and he doesn’t realize his human is a giant squirrely atypical weirdo who will cry for an hour after she gets him back inside.

Hypochondriac

Heaven might be in those long lonely years when you wonder where everyone went and a hello comes along to change the day. Hell is a quiet house.

Maybe it’s the other way around.

Maybe Heaven is in the side notes. Resting quietly in your scribbled margins where no one but your very best lovie will find them.

Maybe Hell is when you realize you have no lovies left. The ER nurse is your family. A stranger behind a mask whose eyes don’t look like the eyes in their picture. Whose mouth you’ll never see.

The difference between Heaven and Hell is hard to tell.

It could be Hell is missing people. It could be Heaven is having people you remember. It could be those two things are the wrong way around.

It could be there is nothing wrong with you at all.

The Train Has Left the Station

I don’t think about my dead brothers every day. I try very hard not to think of them at all. But they are persistent.

When my heart beats wrong, I think of George. He, who was the heart of our family, whose heart I knew well, died of a bad heart. One year older than I am now.

When my lungs are weak, I think of Bob. He, who was the life and breath of our family, died of bad lungs. Seven years older than I am now.

When my life is chaos, I think of Clay. He, who was the family’s trainwreck, was killed in a hit and run. Six years older than I am now.

They are with me this morning while my heart beats wrong from dehydration. While I cough my unproductive cough. While I consider my trainwrecks.

I am the family conundrum. The, I don’t fucking know what’s up with her. I am the one who counts the leaves on the trees. I am who they will never figure out.

George would translate me. Bob would calm me. Clay would make me dance.

George would make me dance. Bob would translate me. Clay would calm me.

George would calm me. Bob would make me dance. Clay would translate me.

Without them I am not calm. I do not dance. I am unknown.

Without them my heart is wrong. It is difficult to breathe. I have missed the train.

Without them, I am alone with the trees.

Birdseye

Hello from the other side of the flight you can’t take back

Hello from after, you broken wing bird baby dropped from the nest

From the song you wish you didn’t sing

From the ugly insides on the out oops here is your life without guts

Stare, I dare you, you have earned this

Before you shake your damn head, ruffle your wings, declare there’s nothing anyone could have done

Just look

this is your anthem, your genome sequence, and all the houses below the crows look like DNA markers

This is the test result, the what to your why, the effect to your caw

You, observing, are the reason

This is what happens when you aren’t careful when you fly

This is the voice in your head that yells stop

Hello from the place where no one looks up

Robin Redbreast

On the deck today, smoking cigarettes like I shouldn’t, staring off into space like I do too much, ignoring the rain like I’ve been ignoring everything for I don’t know how long, the sump pump turned on in the grass below and startled me into an existential moment.

I felt the breeze. A cool breeze. The kind of breeze that doesn’t ask for a jacket. The kind of breeze that suggests you take your jacket off. I remembered a stranger on the dance floor years ago who said, “Well, aren’t you a cool breeze,”

For 3.5 seconds, I felt young. I missed my son. He always liked to walk in the rain and jump in puddles. I hope he thinks of me when he does. If he still does.

The scent of lilacs hit me like it was a Mother’s Day. It’s not. But that son I miss always gave me lilacs on Mother’s Day. Sometimes it feels as if it’s been a hundred years since he’s been here.

Then the color red came back to me. On the breast of a bird hopping in the puddle from the sump pump pit. An avian reminder that puddle jumping maybe isn’t such a big deal.

Or maybe it’s a bigger deal than it’s given credit for. Even birds like it.

I watched him for awhile, I swear he danced. He pulled little worms out of the ground and swallowed them whole. He ran at a starling to make it go away. Starlings are bastard birds. Mean. They push eggs that don’t belong to them out of nests they didn’t build and claim them as their own. Lay their own eggs. Starlings remind me of people.

The robin’s red was so red. I didn’t realize how empty everything in my world had been of color until I saw his red.

How empty my world had been of pleasant scents until I caught that lilac on the breeze.

How empty my world had been of comfort until I felt that breeze.

How lonely my daughter must be to know I sit on her deck and miss her brother.

Then she went to the store and brought back strawberries.

I didn’t realize how empty my world has been without me until my daughter gave me those red, ripe, strawberries.

Life in the Time of Whatever-That-Stuff-Is- Going-On-Out-There

The Virus is a dirty word. It is now, “Whatever that crap is going on out there,”

My increasing ass has not been out of the house in three months. My largesse has not gotten off the damn couch except to go to the kitchen or bathroom.

My fat head decided it was an excellent exercise opportunity to walk twelve blocks to my daughter’s house.

Twelve blocks, pssshhh. That’s nothing. I used to walk ten to fifteen miles, no problem. I used to run stairs. I used to lift weights, swim laps for an hour, carry a laundry basket up from the basement.

I used to not be 53.

The first part of my walk was The Hill. Athletes in training use this hill to get ready for Iron Man competitions. MMA cage fights. Marathons. Members of the National Guard have used it to prep for their month of training.

My old ass argued. Those people use The Hill going up. I would be walking down. Easy peasy.

Fuck that hill. Up and down.

At the bottom, I reminded myself how to breathe. As long as my intake of air did not exceed my oxygen needs, I’d be fine. I told myself this.

Down the hill, turn the corner, toward a street sign, my optimism and oxygen were still with me. When I reached the street sign and saw I’d gone one fucking block, my pessimism called me a dumbass.

Going home meant climbing up The Hill. That was not going to happen. Eleven blocks to go.

The next two blocks were relatively uneventful. Other than realizing I might possibly be getting hot. The block after that, my intake of air increased my oxygen needs.

With seven blocks to go, my 18 year-old self started insulting my 53 year-old self.

I told you not to start smoking.

I told you not to get fat.

I told you not to give up regular, daily exercise.

My 53 year-old self told my 18 year-old self, anorexia is arrogant.

You skinny bitch.

Tapioca tits.

Concave tummies are not sexy.

She came back with fat bitch, bubble tea boobs, and concave is a hell of a lot better than convex.

I couldn’t argue because my left knee gave out a little bit and I had to lean against a landscaped wall to get my breathing slowed down so I didn’t pass out on a sidewalk.

With five blocks to go, my legs felt like spaghetti noodles. Skinny Bitch Me said, “Try fettuccini, you old bat,”

Fat Bitch Me noticed the only other person on the planet walking toward me a block down the sidewalk.

We timed our walking so we passed each other in a business driveway entrance. He went six feet that way, I went six feet this way and, together, we made a twelve foot semi-circle.

Social interaction during a pandemic. He nodded at me, I nodded at him. He seemed nice. In his American flag sunglasses shaped like stars.

With one block left, I was sure I’d die.

So far, I haven’t.

My calves still remind me, two days later, you can’t walk twelve blocks after being sedentary all winter.

My step counter tells me twelve blocks is actually 1.5 miles.

It also tells me I made it to my daughter’s house in 34 minutes.

Which means I have a 22 minute mile.

Skinny Bitch Me just laughs.

Quarantine Day 76b43e2

The cat jumps up on the computer keyboard and lays his fat fluff in my husband’s hand and types out I love you in cat butt. It looks like brp$/《¡¥bjure.

I could be jealous, I suppose, but I’ve had cats love me before. The Hubs can have this one.

Then The Hubs proceeds to brush The Fur for twenty minutes and they, together, teach me a lesson in, “Some things are out of your control,” and I have to accept the fact I don’t always have a choice in things.

Like being quarantined indefinitely with those two fuckers.

Over there in love.

Okay, I’m a bit jealous.

I’d like something to love me like the cat loves that asshole.

Perhaps the cathole is mentally deficient. He doesn’t know The Hubs like I do. Perhaps The Fur is just uninformed.

I make it my mission to inform him.

“He likes squirrels, Yoshi,” I tell him.

Yoshi completely ignores me.

The Hubs appears to ignore me too. Until ten minutes later when he tells The Fur, “Don’t listen to her, she’s jealous because she doesn’t have fur.”

Yoshi attempts to purr. I can hear it across the living room.

Yoshi’s purr never came in quite right. It sounds like an old man attempting to clear his throat. Sort of a smoker’s loogie. A semi ratchet wrench.

A catchet wrench.

My ADD takes me off on a tangent because catchet looks French. Perhaps The Fur speaks French. Maybe his purr sounds strange because he purrs in French.

Le Purr. Le hiss. Le rowr.

Le Pepe le fucking LePew.

Quarantining is hard.

I’m going to watch the squirrels through the window and find my purr.

Astrological Playlist

AKA wtf am I actually doing with my life.

Aries: https://youtu.be/Yc6T9iY9SOU

Taurus: https://youtu.be/FLNvVq3K_FQ

Gemini: https://youtu.be/2G1Bnwsw7lA

Cancer: https://youtu.be/mKRXhqgN1N0

Leo: https://youtu.be/C5N52D5ytkQ

Virgo: https://youtu.be/mHN-WIiXuOs

Libra: https://youtu.be/Wsp4Djr2FGk

Scorpio: https://youtu.be/iBy2qRG1PA0

Sagittarius: https://youtu.be/sY0CutW-OIg

Capricorn: https://youtu.be/WtOTolrXjcQ

Aquarius: https://youtu.be/T7bOsxhkuEo

Pisces: https://youtu.be/BP6KxfuHXoA