Friday, July 20, 2007

Sad is Heavy

Sadness is heavy. It's insanely heavy for an emotion.

The thing I have the most trouble with when it comes to my faith is this: I know God is going to take care of us, but I don't know that God is going to make things better.

Sometimes there are struggles that we have to go through for some reason that we can't understand. Sometimes we struggle because we just got the shit end of the stick this time. I believe that God is with us to comfort us in our pain, but to be honest, I am not a person who necessarily wants comfort. I want to scream "Make it better!".

My life is pretty good right now. My husband's business is on the upswing, I am having a blast at my new job (despite my rants over here). Sam is teething and he's pretty cranky, but if that's the worst I've got, then I've got it good.

I wish I could say the same for my friends. Not just friends, best friends. The friends that can live hundreds or thousands of miles away, but you feel like you could jump through cyberspace or the phone lines in an instant to watch Leno read Headlines with them, just like you could a decade ago.

One has Cancer.
One has high blood pressure, is pregnant, and her husband is having a hard time finding work.
One has a husband in Pakistan, that she misses horribly.

This morning I got the e-mail from a friend who intended to tell us good news...that she was pregnant. Only she isn't anymore. She miscarried last night.

I want to look at the sky and scream "What the HELL are You doing?"

I'm not going to.

I can't remember where I heard was back in college when I was very worried about a bulimic friend. Someone made a suggestion for when the pain of others gets to heavy, and the idea of giving it up to God is too hard. An object lesson.

Write down the sadness, the worry, the anger, the pain of your loved ones on a piece of paper. Go outside. Burn the paper. Watching the ashes float away as the worries burn helps give it to God. It worked then. I hope it will work today. It's going to be a longer paper this time, but fire spreads.

Like Grace.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It's Finished.

The story that came out of my milk white kitchen is done. There's a sort of epilogue. I don't know if I'll keep it. I welcome and beg your comments, criticism, and the like.

I have posted it altogether here.

Monday, July 09, 2007

"Where have you been?"

Iris asks as her sister enters the house. Iris is in the milk white kitchen, rinsing a china teapot acquired at the bake and tag sale.

"Where's Heather?"

"After the church sale, she went to a movie with Nancy's daughter."

"Oh, that's nice. Allison or Jessica?"

"The one who just got married."


"Sure. Answer my question."

"What did they go see?"

Iris puts the teapot down.


"I don't know. Why aren't you answering me?"

Althea is quiet. She puts her bag on the table and removes her hat.

"You were supposed to be back from Dr. Van Austen's at one. I was worried."

"I'm sorry you were concerned. See, though? I'm fine." Althea smiles at the teapot. "This is very pretty. Did you pick this out?"

"Heather found it. Althea!" Iris has her hands on her hips and she stands in front of her sister.

When Iris is trying to hide something from her sister, she huffs and puffs and pretends offense. When Althea is trying to hide something from her sister, she changes the subject and is extra sweet. The tactics work on other people. They do not work on each other.

Iris's unfounded concern changed to irritation and now it is anger. She does something not done in this house. She curses.

"Althea Elizabeth Wight, where the hell were you?"

Not one of the greater swear words, but strong in a house where none are said at all.

Althea sighs. "I took the car to Heather's house and killed her husband."

Looking at Iris, it seems time has stopped. She does not blink, and even her breathing seems to pause.

She speaks a full minute later.

" did?"

"Yes." Althea delicately removes her driving gloves and puts them in her bag.

"Oh." says Iris. "Well." She pulls up another chair and sits. She still does not blink.

Althea reaches out and gently takes her sister's hand. Her voice never changes in tone or urgency.

"She can come and stay with us now. Mrs. Herman's son said Calais Regional is hiring. She can live in Corydalis' room and leave that awful, smelly place and that awful parasite of a man and be really happy."

She might have been discussing the pretty teapot.

"Something had to be done, Iris. I think it's a service, don't you?"

Iris stares at her sister.

Then she blinks.

"They have neighbors..."

"There were no cars in the next driveway, and all of the shades were drawn. The other house is empty. It's a little, dead end dirt road, far from the main highway. You remember? Heather told us that when they moved there."

"I remember. Are you sure no one saw you?"

"No one, dear. Don't worry about that. It's Heather that matters. When do you think she'll be back? Not for a while?"

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I have a kitchen in my head. There's an old woman standing in it.

It's hard to tell what color it is, as everything is covered with a layer of gold film. "Gold" does not mean shiny and expensive. It means the sort of yellow, sort of orange, sort of brownish color that makes everything look as if it's sticky. Every cabinet, every wood veneer panel, every appliance has this...this grime that has long ago smothered the original colors.

It smells of cigarettes and warm plastic, and something else that she does not recognize.

Looking into the room from the front door, there is a large plastic trash bin on the left, with an aged pair of sneakers kicked nest to it, and a plastic grocery bag with a box of light bulbs. The bag and the box are covered in dust. A much stained counter (it was light blue at one time, but now it looks a swampy green) leads to a sink full of dirty dishes, a stove with blackened clumps of mystery stuck to it, and an old refrigerator. The refrigerator has three magnets. One is in the shape of a toilet, (holding a scrap of paper with a phone number), one of a beer can (holding a photo of Heather with her arm around another young woman. They are at a beach, slightly sun burnt, but smiling broadly.), one of a duck (holding a piece of paper that reads "Jolene Friday 4").

Past that is a little more counter space, and then a wall of "wood" paneling. There is a poster of a busty woman holding a beer stein. Below the poster is a table. There is several days of mail on the table, grocery store circulars, and two styrofoam food containers. There is a dead daisy in a jelly glass. On the floor there is an empty paper container that once housed a dozen cans of cheap beer.

St. Pauli Girl 1997

The old woman looks as if she is in a foreign land. She wears crisp white pants and a short sleeved blouse with small pink flowers. She has a white hat that shades her face. She wears pale fawn colored driving gloves and soft white shoes.

She is subtly upset by this room. She moves through it without touching anything, she doesn't even want to touch the floor. She clears her throat delicately. She passes into the next room, where she believed she hears snoring.

He is on the couch, lying on his back. He is shirtless and wearing gray sweatpants. The enormous television is on to the weather channel, but the sound is off. The room has stacks of things. Stacks of folded clothes, stacks of magazines, stacks of DVD’s. This room is less messy than the kitchen, but it is darker. The unfamiliar smell is much stronger here. The carpet and couch are worn dark blue, and the dirty curtains are drawn. Between his knees is one empty beer can. On the floor, at the end near his feet are five more.

His right arm has dropped off the end of the couch, and his hand rests between an ashtray (full of stubs of paper, that she assumes are hand rolled cigarettes) and an open pizza box. She can see that there are slices of pizza, loaded with meat and onions, and a cheap steak knife. Used to cut the pizza slices apart. It will suffice.

She bends to the box. She picks up the knife and positions herself so she is standing directly above him.

She calmly sticks the knife into his chest, where his heart is. Sideways, so it goes between his ribs and makes less mess. She pushes it into the hilt. His eyes flutter when she does this, but he is inebriated on beer and lazy from marijuana. They close again.

Althea leaves as quietly as she came.