The past few months’ tumult pauses tonight, if only momentarily, as my mom and I settle into her apartment. Sitting in a new bed in a new bedroom, watching Flip wash his face, listening to Dawn Upshaw, I’m inclined to take a mini-inventory.
My mom wants me to call this apartment “ours,” but feeling as homeless as I have since leaving Manhattan last May, I hesitate to do so. Her name is on the lease, she has picked out the furniture, she has decorated with the antiques she and my dad acquired in Toronto before their separation, and she is the one who will live here once I join Marcus in England.
She is also the one who set an elegant 1940’s etched glass clock on my night stand, startling me with its accurate time. It’s been so long since I had a real, functioning clock next to my bed, instead of having to open someone’s cell phone or my iPod, I almost find it disturbing, as though… the ticking second hand knows something I don’t.
On the other hand, many of the dishes, videos, sheets, blankets, and most importantly, Flip himself, are leftovers from that very same life I left behind. Maybe those belongings, and this little guy, do make it “ours.”
Marcus arrives to visit exactly one week from today, to spend ten days in my glorious company, and to soak in the cultural wonders that are Buffalo. It will be exactly three months from the day I left him at the Heathrow airport, making this exactly a momentous occasion. The anticipation, the fantasies, and the shaving that his visit inspire remind one of the complex pre-marriage rituals of tribal natives of Nairobi. As I write this, I keep wanting to reach over to him in bed next to me, as though this space is generating happy phantom reminders of all that I’ve missed.
The snow, previously piled four feet high on the sides of roads, and several inches thick with ice on most sidewalks, has melted over the past warm week, giving everyone a frolicsome taste of spring. Locals assure myself and one another that another blizzard is just moments away, so don’t enjoy yourself too much sweethawt. I hope they’re right, so that Marcus doesn’t arrive to this snow-free paradise and wonder what the hell I’ve been complaining about since December. Call me selfish, but I want him to suffer too.
My brother is kissing his carpet tonight, glad to have his apartment to himself for the first time in several weeks. Unfortunately, the reunion between him and his privacy is bittersweet, as my mom will be joining him when Marcus arrives, so that Marcus and I can have this one bedroom to ourselves. Yes, we really are living like immigrants from a third world nation, swapping apartments, living four to a room, bundling up in rugs and curtains to stay warm through the long winter, eating things straight from cans. But at least we have love, and a god with an unpronounceable name.
Creatively, I have not added to my 65,000 words in a few weeks, unfortunately. I would like to sink into a good book, but every tome I open has words in it, in an order I do not approve of, so I continue my quest for non-irritating reading material. I’m working on more designs for Threadless tee shirts after my first design was accepted for voting. We have only five more days, folks, to vote for my rabbits, so let’s get in there and keep fighting! Just having my work exposed to the public for the first time since, um, high school, makes me breathless with excitement. I’ve just started knitting another hat, since my mom keeps stealing the one I gave my brother for Christmas. I also have to paint an overdue birthday card for my mom and make a vision board to share with Uke next time we talk. Hopefully, these projects and my temporary landing pad in this apartment will give me the time and calm to finish my first draft of the novel.
It’s a time for reflection, sitting here in this new bed, and a time for a few applause. As my aunt told my mom today, we’re all proud of her for her courage and growth over the past few months. She has continued to show me that one can endure even the most heartbreaking events, while still looking good enough to be accosted by random strangers when ordering pizza.
We all have a lot ahead of us in 2009, both the visible fears and dreams to conquer and achieve, and the unexpected news, events and realizations that make life so interesting. But, tonight at least, Flip and I feel like… we’re all in pretty good shape.
Good night folks, and remember… yesterday may have sucked, but eventually, you’ll reach a today that doesn’t.