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BY suzy

07/01 Direct Link
I spent a long weekend with my man's family, but without my man. I'm still not sure how or why this happened, but I'm glad it did. I'm lucky that they love me for me, as well as for loving their son/brother/nephew. Since I have so little family left, and I will apparently never feel like a grown-up, it's nice to have someone mother me. She even made me a lunch to have on the train home, including carrot sticks and fruit for dessert. I can't remember the last time someone made me lunch, or if my mother ever did.
07/02 Direct Link
These things I know are true: My parents are dead. My grandparents are dead. I will never have an uncle or cousins. I will never have children. My siblings are all I have now. My one niece and one nephew might have children one day, but they are in their twenties now and show no signs of nesting. For a family with four children, we have notably failed to reproduce. I'm not sure what this means. Our family, so big and noisy when we were young, has now been distilled to a quieter, concentrated essence. We are all we have.
07/03 Direct Link
Getting ready for school each Fall, we'd get new shoes. Sometimes, I'd have a notion about the shoes in question (one year, they had to be red, and they were), but my main requirement for the new shoes was for them to be clacky. They had to make noise. To be sure, I'd walk out of the shoe store and onto the sidewalk, to make sure they made a satisfactory noise. Here I am! Look! Now that I'm much older, my shoes are quiet. I walk silently away from the known past into the unknown future. My youth behind me.
07/04 Direct Link
Mrs. Newton lived alone in her imposing house, surrounded by perfectly manicured lawns and formal gardens. A short hedge divided her domain from the public sidewalk. Sometimes, my brother and I dared each other to run up the wide front stairs. What if she came out? Mrs. Newton, long widowed, was a legend in the town. She hadn't left the house since her son was killed in the war. Her groceries were delivered; a gardener cared for the lawns and flowers. At night, you could see a lantern moving slowly through the dark as Mrs. Newton paced her house, alone.
07/05 Direct Link
She felt the coolness of shade slide over her body. Just when she was so comfortable in the delicious pool of heat! Surely, she thought crossly, as she got up to follow the warmth across the room, the Girl could do something about it. After all, the Girl could do anything. She could open cans and doors, dispense food and water, and replace the sand that smelled so unpleasant after a day or two. Keeping the heat pool where it belonged should be a perfectly simple thing. The only problem was explaining to the Girl that there was a problem.
07/06 Direct Link
I've been drinking too much coffee lately. The rich, dark scent drifting through the house in the morning makes me think, "Life- giving caffeine." My little sister lived with me for her last two years of high school, rather than choosing one parent over the other following their divorce, and she used to ask me with youth's disdain, "What's in that stuff, anyway? It smells better than it tastes." The answer, of course, is life-giving caffeine, and the irony is that my little sister, responsible for actual life-saving during her long night shifts, now drinks far more coffee than I do.
07/07 Direct Link
The one good thing about the rain is that it has temporarily silenced the constant roar and growl of the construction site across the street. Two hundred condos are being built there, and more further down the block. Buildings that have stood for almost century have been demolished to make way for these human hives. Watching the new rise from the rubble of the old, I wonder what it must be like to live in one of these little boxes, work in another little box, and then go home to the first one. Good practice for that final little box.
07/08 Direct Link
We go to sleep together, but we don't stay there. Our roads branch off in sleep, his to his dreams and me to mine. We both have more active dream lives than waking lives. We rarely remember our dreams. When I remember mine, I sometimes question my sanity, and wonder why I dream such strange things. His dreams are often nightmares, grown from his past, and when he's asleep and vulnerable, they catch up with him, and he lives it all over again, in inescapable sleep. He cries out in the night, and I wake him up, to save him.
07/09 Direct Link
Once, I lived in a city by the sea. If I was worried or sad, I'd walk to the beach and sit on the sand, watching the sailboats and the few intrepid swimmers braving the chilly water. The ocean seemed limitless, stretching to the horizon. I thought of all the places that same ocean touched, all the generations of people before me who rested their eyes and their spirits on the same endless waves. Now I live in a city by a lake. The lake is big enough to reach the horizon, and to hold all my hopes and fears.
07/10 Direct Link
She closed the door with a sigh of relief. Her husband was on his way to work. Her children were on their way to school. She poured another cup of coffee and lit a cigarette, enjoying the freedom from the censorious looks she got from her husband when she indulged these minor vices. He was no saint, either, the amount he drank. She wanted to call her mother, but she couldn't. She used to tell her mother everything, but how could she tell her mother that the new life she was carrying would be the end of her new life?
07/11 Direct Link
The boy rose with the summer sun. Like his father, he would always get up early, enjoying the new day and the solitude before everyone else awoke and the day really began. This July morning, he slipped quietly out of the house (his parents, who were always telling him to hush, would have been surprised at how noiseless he could be). Through the dew-drenched grass (he'd almost certainly be told to cut it soon) to the shore of the pond, where his little boat waited. He jumped aboard, cast off, and drifted away on the water and his early-morning dreams.
07/12 Direct Link
My life has changed in the last few years:

Then: Married.
Now: Separated (by time, space, and the past).

Then: Owned a beautiful apartment in Pacific Heights.
Now: Renting bohemian space far from Pacific Heights, in every possible way.

Then: Four full-time cats.
Now: One part-time dog.

Then: One very full-time job.
Now: One very part-time job.

Then: Two parents.
Now: None.

Then: No medication.
Now: Anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication.

Then: I believed all my friends would support my decisions.
Now: I know better.

Then: Overwhelmingly sad and oppressed by my entire life.
Now: So much happier, and getting better.

07/13 Direct Link
Looking around Noel's house, I could see the merging of her two lives: the old, married one, and the new, divorced one. While her living room was beautifully furnished, and the dining room, too, down to the sideboard filled with crystal for every possible occasion and drink, the kitchen was unfinished. There was a new refrigerator (with the ice-maker I have always wanted) and stove, but the sink was perched in a makeshift counter made of plywood. There was no lighting, since it cost too much. The house was a work in progress, like her life. And it was hers.
07/14 Direct Link
To move, or not to move? That is the question. I have no answer to this and all the other moving-related questions, and I have little to no faith in my decision-making abilities, either. When my father was alive, I'd always ask him for advice, and he was never wrong. Since he died, I've had to make my own decisions, advice-free, and almost all of them have been the wrong ones. I seem to have an uncanny ability to pick Door Number One, with a lifetime supply of canned tuna, instead of Door Number Two, with a brand new car.
07/15 Direct Link
The heat is stifling. When I go outside, the heat hits me like a hot, wet blanket. I realize how lucky we were that our parents took their children to Maine every summer. There, we had the luxury of cool nights - Dad lit the fire in the Franklin stove some mornings - and the occasional foggy day. If the fog didn't burn off by noon, it wasn't going to, and we wouldn't be going to the beach that day. But mostly, it was warm enough to swim and sail during the day, and cool enough to sleep at night.
07/16 Direct Link
Abandoned in sleep, he looks so young. The worries of the day and the lines of the years are smoothed away from his handsome face. I curl up at night, defensively, but he sleeps in vulnerable positions: on his back, arm flung above his head, legs careless. Asleep, he is fearless, certain that he is loved and safe. Awake, he's more cautious, less trusting; his childhood taught him to require proof of character and intention first. Everyone thinks I spoil him and fuss over him too much, but it's impossible to do either. He is the love of my life.
07/17 Direct Link
"Do you ever think about Daniel?"I ask. "What he would have been like if he'd grown up?-

Gwen looks puzzled. "Daniel, my ex?-

"No, Daniel, your baby,"I say, beginning to feel like a monster for bringing it up at all. Daniel died more than 40 years ago of crib death, and Gwen's husband always blamed her.

"Oh." Gwen blinks, switching gears from ex-husband to ex-baby. She thinks for a moment, and then says, "No, not really. He died so young we didn't get to know him." She pauses. "And then, of course, we had Paul to replace him.-

07/18 Direct Link
It was a summer ritual. We took empty coffee cans and went to the blueberry patch. We were young enough that spending hours in the hot sun bending over the scrubby, low-growing bushes and hunting for the tiny wild blueberries was fun. We didn't mind the scratches from the bushes or the afternoon's heat. We didn't think of complaining or not doing it. More blueberries went into our mouths than into the cans, but we still managed to fill the cans. We'd freeze them, and in the depths of the winter, we'd have the taste of a Maine summer day.
07/19 Direct Link
The house is still. It seems to be holding its breath, waiting for something or someone. Outside, cicadas chirp about the thick heat of a summer afternoon. Roses bloom, releasing their intoxicating scent. The trees have the dark, dusty green of late summer. Inside, the floors are polished, the dishes done, the beds made. As always, the house is immaculately clean and tidy. Clothes hang neatly in the closet. Lady Esther face powder is on the dressing table, reflected over and over again in the three mirrors. There are birthday cards on the mantel, but she will never have another.
07/20 Direct Link
Eleanor was possessed of a cool, rational beauty which often aroused envy in women and in men, the desire to make her warm and passionate. Both wanted to knock her off her pedestal. She glided serenely through her calm, privileged life. She never saw any need to raise her carefully modulated voice, to speak an ugly word, to make a scene, to hate. Even when she discovered her husband was having an affair, she left the house, spoke to a lawyer, and never spoke to her husband again. She kept the house, and lived there in splendid solitude, without regrets.
07/21 Direct Link
Julianne was a gifted singer. As long as I can remember, her clear, bright, soaring voice had remarkable beauty. One of my favorite memories of Julianne was one night when we were young and wanted to see a certain band. She was short of funds, and the rest of us didn't have enough money to get her in. So she just stood outside the club and sang until she got enough money. She took requests, the most delicious being an ancient, wizened Chinese woman who kept requesting Hank Williams songs. You know Co' Co' Haht? You know Mansion on Heel?
07/22 Direct Link
A dear friend has been unlucky in love. The man she loved was living with someone else, had been divorced twice, had children from both marriages and didn't want any more, and had a taste for strippers. A recipe for disaster, if you're looking at the ingredients objectively, but who can be objective when they're in love? No matter how smart you are, or how much well-meant advice you get from friends and family, you can't see the truth. I wish I could convince her it has nothing to with her. He would have done the same thing to anyone.
07/23 Direct Link
My dog and I trespassed this morning! We both woke up early this Sunday morning, and the park beckoned. It was a glorious morning, the sky a cloudless blue, the sun warm and benign, the air cool and infused with summer flowers. Before we reached the park, my dog got distracted by the brick road leading to a long disused factory. Grass and wildflowers had grown tall in the cracks between the bricks, and as she followed her nose, I followed her, ignoring the No Trespassing signs, caught up in the moment. We were both young again, both happy. Together.
07/24 Direct Link
It wasn't the novelty so much as the relief. His wife was beautiful, charming, witty, well-educated, and everyone loved her. He loved her, too, and the way she reflected on him, but he was always afraid that he wasn't good enough for her, and she'd find out. She did find out when he cheated on her, and stayed after he begged her to, but it was never the same. Now he's seeing a girl who comes from the same background, never went to college, and doesn't dazzle anyone, but he's not challenged by her or afraid of losing her.
07/25 Direct Link
Getting ready for school each Fall, we'd get new shoes. Sometimes, I'd have a notion about the shoes in question (one year, they had to be red, and they were), but my main requirement for the new shoes was for them to be clacky. They had to make noise. To be sure, I'd walk out of the shoe store and onto the sidewalk, to make sure they made a satisfactory noise. Here I am! Look! Now that I'm much older, my shoes are quiet. I walk silently away from the known past into the unknown future. My youth behind me.
07/26 Direct Link
I found a small, pale blue budgie wandering around the courtyard. He looked dazed and confused. An informal survey of the neighborhood (knocking on doors and phoning) did not reveal his owner, so I put up some posters and brought the poor thing to the SPCA. I hope his owner finds him soon. While I was there, another finder showed up. He had unloaded a long haul truck and discovered two little kitten stowaways! One was black, and one tabby, and they both were young enough to have blue eyes. If I were him, it would have been finders, keepers.
07/27 Direct Link
Is it all random? Life, death, love, loss, disasters, triumphs? The doings of people, who believe they are the pinnacle of creatures on earth, like ants racing around an anthill, insignificant, even laughable? Their concerns about money, sex, beauty, fleeting and irrelevant in the face of the bigger picture. The night sky, studded with deceptively brilliant stars; the day sky, with a benign or malignant sun — these are unchanging and ruled by the laws of nature, not the rules of man. The planets spin and whirl in their predestined orbits, uncontrolled by man, his limited lifetime, his endless death.
07/28 Direct Link
I've been procrastinating. I promised a friend I'd write a book review for the magazine she manages, and I haven't done it yet. I can't understand my reluctance to get going on it. I manage to write these hundred words every day, I've been blogging for more than five years, and I almost never shut up, either on paper or in person, but I can't seem to get started on one tiny 200 word review. The only reason I can come up with is that I haven't written one before, and fear the unknown, even something as small as this.
07/29 Direct Link
When you're a child, the summer stretches before you in an endless vista of delight and possibility. Every day is an adventure — will you go to the beach, or the lake, or go sailing, or explore the rocky coast and cool forest? Or maybe you'll go and buy lobster for dinner, or have a clambake, or visit a friend. There are so many delightful things to do, and it seems that there's always time to do them. Once you grow up, you lose that feeling of having all the time you need, and nothing but fun to fill it.
07/30 Direct Link
Today is my grandmother's 105th birthday. She was a remarkable woman. Petite on the outside, tough on the inside. Beautiful on the outside and on the inside. She had Wedgwood blue eyes, a color I had never seen on anyone, before or since. She always dressed impeccably. She was born on a farm in the Chautaqua region of New York State. When her father wouldn't let her go to school, she left home and attended teacher's college, getting some of the highest marks. She taught until she retired. She and my grandfather were in love until the day she died.
07/31 Direct Link
Here's my fantasy: I set my hands on top of a fresh, pure snow drift. The heat of my skin makes my hands sink through the cold, soft crystals as if they were a cloud. The melted snow envelopes my hands with cool, clear water. The heat melts into the melted snow, and the coolness melts into my fevered hands. I lift my dripping hands from the snow, and go in the house, dry them off, and get into bed. It's cold enough to have blankets on the bed! In fact, it's cold enough to be wearing flannel pajamas. Bliss.