Monday, June 18, 2012

Recent Weeks: Maple Drive 2

In the living room I sat with Olivia and Ciera, trying to keep them company. Olivia was persistent; organizing the borders and pictures to make a stellar presentation.

I looked around the familiar room. It was the same as it had always been. Home. It was one of my homes. The house held me in and gave me a gentle embrace as my eyes consumed the details. It had been nearly six months since Mama had died and the house remained almost identical to the moment of her passing. The home, filled with love and people for my childhood, suddenly felt incomplete. I looked at all the touches that were hers. The furniture, the pictures of family, the careful attention to detail. And it all oozed southern hospitality. I tried to take in everything in that moment; maybe it was to remember why I loved that place, maybe it was a fear of never returning, maybe it was the right thing to do—if that makes any sense.

The boards from Mama’s funeral sat on a chair. I looked at the pictures. As I scanned through memories came and went like milk swirling through coffee; distinct clouds of times rolling up and sinuously twisting with the blackness. And then the memories were no more, nothing was differentiated, just a singular mixture.

I slept without moving. Curled in the fetal position on my side. Ciera said I lay there stubbornly. In my dreams I was restless. Nothing I could imagine about the coming morning was particularly happy. I wanted only to get through the next 48 hours. I wanted the family to stop being in funeral mode. I wanted our lives to move as when I was a child; easily and without fear of death.

My dreams were black and red. Fuzzy faces of people and little vignettes of disjointed scenes. I did not feel rested when I awoke the next morning.

I descended the stairs nearly dressed already. I wanted nothing to go wrong. I looked out onto the back porch; a neighborhood cat had come to see us. O had named her Lady. Lady was a beautiful tabby who we occasionally fed. The grey morning had made the porch damp and cold, typical weather for Portland.

The cat rubbed her body against the back door, signaling her desire to be fed. I grabbed a handful of cat food from the container by the door—still there—and put it on the porch for Lady. Lady looked pregnant. I petted the gentle cat and closed the door to the house. Life goes on. It just does.