Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Glass Slippers.

At the stroke of midnight, the spell will be broken. – Fairy Godmother

It is the eleventh hour on the eve of the ball and I am once again wishing that the fairy godmother that eludes us all will appear. Because the carriage looks like a pumpkin and the mice need a keeper. Because I feel less princess and more scullery maid. 

Because unless I add four inches to my less-than-lofty frame, the dress that magically appeared yesterday has the potential to send me careening into the emergency room. 

I need slippers. 4-inch-tall slippers.

I really could be better prepared, I suppose. After all … it happens every year.

It’s a wonderful event that celebrates so many lights that went out too early, not in somber reflection but with joy that fills the room with all of the hearts and souls they touched. And they are honored deeply, not simply in memory but in the hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships that propel children of first responders toward their futures and their dreams. Young faces full of promise flash across the screen alongside those gone in whose name they are being recognized, a tribute to the promise of the future and the legacy of the past. For those of us who remain, we stand quietly proud while the bagpipes wail and we remind ourselves again that this, too, is evidence that we have not failed the memory and we’ve found good in the bad.

And for just a few hours we float like princesses up the sweeping steps.

In 4-inch slippers.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Other Side of the Door.

“If you are there, you can just get out right now.”

I lost feeling in my buttocks a while ago, and if I am ever able to rise up again I’m concerned that my first and only permanent marking will be the mottled purple-and-skin-toned oval indentation left behind. The nanny has stopped coming by to ask questions through the door, and Thing 1 and Thing 2 gave me a wide berth the second I sped through the door. 

Even the dog has stopped sniffing around for hints of life.

I saw this coming two nights ago. A little glimmer of something not quite right. Come morning … nothing. And then there it was again. A little twinge. A little shift in the seat.

And then there was a meeting. And another. And then another. And I ignored the little twinge and the something-not-quite-right and the swelling in my belly and made like Fred Flintstone at punch-out time to get my favorite treadmill along the wall.

Only to hop on … and off … and on … and off … and right out the door.

To spend countless, wasted minutes in this tiny little room staring at the walls while absolutely nothing happens. And the second I stand up and walk away, I race back here. 

To sit and stare some more.

If I’m being fair, there’s really no one to blame but myself for this little predicament. If I had just taken care of me in the first place … instead of this and that and everything and everyone else … I wouldn’t be sitting here wasting time in this space.

Worried that my dead husband is Caspering into my highly personal space.

I don’t really believe that he’s floating around out there. But Kiefer Sutherland’s determination to flatline left me with the eternal fear of ‘what if.’ What if I’m wrong? What if there really is a portal to a place in the ether where souls linger until they can say their piece or right a wrong? What if he’s out there, angry at me for living?

What if he’s peeking through this door right now?

As far as I’m concerned, he died blissfully unaware that rolls of toilet paper weren’t simply purchased to deal with the remnants of his favorite chili and bean burrito or to blow his nose when he caught a little cold that he’d argue was comparable to the plague. And I’d like the man who next sweeps me off my feet to be equally and blissfully unaware of my human failings. And when I do fail, I want someone to be there to scoop up the mess of me. Want. I don’t need someone to do it. I want someone to want to do it.

“I know you can’t hear me … but this seems like a good time to talk about the shit you left behind.”