Don’t stop me if you’ve heard this one. Seriously. I know I’m like a broken record lately. You don’t even have to comment. What can be left to say? I know how hard it is to politely pretend that Val has not gone off the deep end and is currently sinking like a granite boulder to the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Just bear with me. You don’t have to encourage me. I will continue with these stories until there are no more such stories to tell. Consider it my therapy, and each of you my therapist. Which is not, by the way, pronounced “the rapist” as one of my colleague’s students read from a textbook long ago, and Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery making a mockery of Jeopardy might have you believe.
I have been feeling a bit downhearted the last couple of days. Yesterday on the way to school, I told The Pony I felt a great sadness. Poor Pony. He said, “It must be something I’ve done.” No, sweet Pony. It’s not you. It’s me. I assured him that it had nothing to do with him. I was just missing his grandma. To which he said, “Aww.” Because even though he doesn’t really care about helping people, his mom is an exception.
After school, we went by Mom’s house to turn on different lights and adjust the shades. No need for people to think the house is abandoned. The Pony ran in as usual to do the work, while I sat in the driveway in T-Hoe. Sad. Because that’s how I used to drop things off for Mom. I felt like she could come walking out to the yard any minute, and stand beside the driveway and talk to me. Her regular self. Not her cane-walking self after her seizure. I really miss her, you know. Sweatpants with the hole in the knee and all.
Last night The Pony went upstairs for his shower routine before I came out of my dark basement lair. I was lonely. I sat down in the recliner about 9:30 and started watching a DVR of Cutthroat Kitchen. The contestants were making a tuna melt, and one lady bid over $19,000 of her $25,000 on the very first item, a glob of cooking utensils all connected in a blob by their handles melted together. I was still feeling sad. I really wanted to call Mom and talk about that show. And about the day I’d had at school. But…well…Mom is no longer available. So I got to talking to her a little bit anyway. It’s just that we no longer need a phone, and she doesn’t really respond.
This morning I got up at 4:50, the regular time, and I was still sad. I used to call her every morning at 6:00, you know, to start the day. If I didn’t call by 6:05, she was ringing me. I packed lunches and was ready for the shower by 5:15 as usual. As I waited for the shower to warm up, I let out a few tears, talked again to Mom, but quietly, you know, because Hick needs his beauty rest, not that he could hear me through the door with the shower going and his breather pumping out cold germy air.
I just told Mom how much I miss her. That I know she’s fine, and I’m fine, but kind of sad lately. And I did what I know I should not do, and blatantly asked for something impossible. “Mom, if it’s not too much trouble, could you give me some kind of sign that everything’s going to be okay? Nothing big. Just a little sign that I’ll know is from you.” Then I looked at the bathroom rug, you know, to see if maybe there was a ladybug there again. But there wasn’t. So I told myself, “Stupid. It doesn’t work like that.” But I looked all around the walls, too, just in case. You never know. But there was nothing. I got in the shower. Cried a little bit, you know, feeling sorry for myself. This is going to take a while.
By 5:30 I was out and ready for my chair nap. I made sure Hick got up, and The Pony. I watched a little morning news, just to check the weather. Huh. No snow in the forecast. Looks like I’m going to have to work every day until the end of the school year! Then I put the TV on TBS, because at 6:00, after laying in the La-Z-Boy trying to sleep, with those infernal fleabags barking on the porch, and Hick thumping around in the bathroom on the other side of the wall, I watch Married With Children. That show is almost as good as Seinfeld. They don’t make ‘em like they used to.
Of course Hick came out of the bathroom at 5:50 this morning, so I barely caught five winks. I tried to catch a few more elusive ZZZs, all snug under my afghan, in the dark of not-yet-sunrise daylight saving time. Those dogs started in again as Hick went up the driveway at 6:00. I had hoped to snooze until 6:10, because without my call to Mom these days, that’s when I start to get ready. But with the racket, I gave up. I clicked on the TV.
Wait a minute! Since when did Peg Bundy have a bindi? (Okay, I didn’t know the name of it then and had to look it up as I wrote this). Yep. Right there in the middle of her forehead was a dot. I turned on the light.
It was a ladybug.