Sunday, July 22, 2012

Seeing Green.

My desk is stocked with green pens, the finest tip. Of all the art on my walls, it is the lush green stone cut lithograph that I prefer. When my parents eventually slide into that gentle good night, they are well aware that it is the expansive green stone cut on their wall that would ensure my fond remembrances, everlasting.

Of the features I awkwardly accept as my own, it is my eyes that I find most comfortable. Spring green in laughter. Dark forests in anger. The color of moss wet with sadness.

My birthstone is a gentle lime green, my dishes a set of pottery washed in the color of wet ferns. I am strong in the ivory skirt adorned with feathery leaves, adventurous in the tweed mini. In boarding school, I reveled in the forest green black watch kilt that swung far above the knees it was meant to reach.

One false move, and I’ll be covered in green ooze.

In 24 hours, the crystalline waters of my swimming pool have devolved into a cesspool of algae and stagnation. Koi would decline these waters, and at any moment I am expecting the Swamp Thing to emerge. And because I am “woman without able man,” it falls to me to … er … jump into the pool and find a solution to this fetid situation.

The thought of which has me feeling green and seeing red.

My home has reached a certain age where the bones are becoming brittle and the potential for hip replacements is increasingly likely. And in the past two weeks, I have seen green move from my hand to theirs as I’ve had to repair the air conditioner, the garage door and the irrigation system.

And now this. In the dead of summer. In the desert.

Which is why I am seeing green far beyond the algae-infested pool and the disappearing dollars. In the first chapter of my life, I never questioned why the house and the cars and the pool functioned without interruption. How bike tires were repaired, and sprinklers never stopped. And he never questioned why bedtimes were what they were, when bills were paid and why the work suitcase was in the hall again. Everything worked. Because we worked at it.

But since I have been left to fend for myself, the car has died, the pool is problematic, leaks linger on without stoppage and the garage full of tools has overwhelmed me with its lack of direction and purpose. Seemingly inconsequential needs have become insurmountable in frustration and, deep inside, the prideful and lonely part of me has accepted and struggled through uncharted territory, reluctant to ask for help and see inconvenience flash in eyes and mistrust in others.

While envy flashes in the green of mine.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Devil Made Me Do It.

I expected ribbed horns curving viciously. Unfathomable inky pools rimmed in bloody red flesh, dark orbs that pierced through my soul. Fingernails like talons. A spaded tail snaking its way around unseen feet. A towering figure wrapped in deathly black robes and smoldering flames. 

I was wrong.

The devil is short and blonde. And if she makes me do one more ab-whittling set I am going bounce this Bosu off her perky ponytail.

Or I would, if I wasn’t fighting the collective urge of my abdominal musculature to seize in sweaty agony. 

Four years ago, I did not need a personal trainer. I had a husband. Who was perfectly fit and who cooked obscenely healthy meals so that we could then blissfully relax over crème de menthe drizzled bowls of ice cream and wedges of Brie. I wasn’t perfect, but I was perfectly happy with what I was. You could almost argue that it was a match made in health and fitness heaven.

(Actually, you could. We met at a gym.)

His hours of cycling and lifting bliss were matched by the miles of solitude in my running shoes, gifts of time we gave to each other that were as important and cherished as notes on the mirror and moments in the dark. As the years passed and our lives grew fuller we held sacred to those gifts and found a new gift in the miles we spent running silently side by side while two tiny heads rested on each other, lulled to sleep as wheels turned and the rhythm of our footsteps tread quietly into the night.

In the wreckage I lost my running shoes and my calm, gifts that he gave me each day and that vanished with him. Trapped in the house I craved an escape, only to struggle for air in the night in rare moments of silent fury interrupted by sirens racing by. And over time I listened as his footsteps faded and I ran to survive, and then to live.

But as my footsteps regained their stride and I once again disappeared into the dark night, something had changed.

The voice that challenged me to seek more was gone, and in its place the voice inside me wondered what more could be found. I ran into the raging silence of Dante’s inferno, seeking more and daring the fates and testing my limits and my strengths. And as I run into the dark with blind faith, this I know.

Hell hath no fury like my abs.