Thursday, 8 December 2011
BONY CATS AND HAPPY PACK RATS
I am camped in the living room. On the couch are: two decorative pillows and one bedroom pillow in a white pillowcase, one gray and white plaid nap blanket and one chocolate brown nap blanket. At my feet, my black purse, the accordion file of hospital issued cancer readings, a bag of bright colored yarn and my boots. On the table itself: scotch tape, a roll of toilet paper (I’m out of Kleenex), two remote controls, a box of licorice, a glass bowl half full of cherries, a kitchen timer, my address book, a non-winning scratch ticket, a pair of scissors, glasses, carnelian earrings, a pen, a copy of “Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides and my day book.
As you can plainly see, Housework Day has been a non-event. No one has made a hat. Think Happy Pack Rat in Nest. I am at page 496 of “Middlesex” – and (weakly) in my defense – the dishes are done and the bed is made.
Today I ambled over to the corner store – a 9 minute round trip. I timed it. The wind was strong enough to make staying upright difficult but the temperature was mild. It was exhilarating to be outside pushing against near gale-force winds. The store cat, an anorexically thin tabby who adores anyone who speaks to him, was there to rub against my legs and offer his neck to be scratched.
Everything engages me. At a certain point, the toxins in my system diminish. Chemo and its’ after-effects are a damp, dirty shroud, dimming everything – including my will to live. But today, colors return, hope boogies back in with a swagger and a wink and the most ordinary things…weeds, cars parked in driveways, churned earth where the sidewalk plows have swerved off-course…everything is vivid and in Technicolor. It is not that my neighborhood is a beautiful representation of life – but that it is life, bony-spined cats and all. Beauty or ugliness is beside the point. I want to stay a while longer. I want to stay.
This time, I was afraid it wasn’t going to happen – that miracle of having my senses and sanity restored. After round two, it only took three days. This time, it took eight. Nevermind. I am grateful…for the poems, prayers, sweetgrass burned, good wishes, phone calls, gifts of cherries, notes, stories and letters… I got here. And while there is more of the shroud to come – I will get here again.