The Ides of January
The cat is still breathing "harshly," per the vet today, and she is still on prednisone. She will be staying on prednisone for the forseeable future. She eats better. She is now mad at me for being the Mean Lady Who Makes Her Eat Pills. She runs from me. I don't need this. I tell her that if we lived on a farm, she'd be put in a gunnesack with a few heavy stones and tossed in the lake. So don't push it, I tell her. This has been a loooong ten days and if you're not cute, you're just an expensive problem right now. She gets quivery tail at me. We make up and kiss. She does Le Grande Flop against my side and tucks herself even more tightly against me, hooking her pristine white paws around my arm. There is a tiny, almost imperceptible rattle underneath her purring. I hold my own breath and listen, listen. Stop it, I think. Please stop it. Whatever you are.
It rains, it suns, it's cold, then it's balmy. I have sudden attacks of histamines and want to scratch out my eyes. I take Claritin.
I read about Bush and despair, I read about the theatre, I read celebrity gossip. I read a bit of this and a bit of that. I get an "A" on my big class. I show Mom my report card, because I never outgrow that. Mom is jubilant, as a mother should be. She got here yesterday.
We talk at the kitchen table. We talk about aging, we talk about our bodies. We talk about family, about our new babies. We talk about being women with big appetites, and trade recipes. We hash over politics and community issues. We talk about dating and relationships. We take naps. We clean up the dinner dishes. We shop for a new electric kettle for me, as I tripped and broke mine.
The Christmas tree is down. I wrestled it into its box for another year the other day, grateful not to have pulled anything in my lower back. The storage room looks like the inside of some mad genius's mind. It is the cat's favorite hiding place, a jumble of Christmas Easter Harvest Memory Lane Air Conditioning Units Old Curtain Rods.
I turn 41 years old tomorrow.
I am now officially "in my forties." It sounds ridiculous, just as giggle-worthy as the moment last night when Melissa and her husband had to leave dinner to get the babysitter home at a reasonable hour. Mel and I have been good friends since the third grade. We used to babysit together. One time at the Andersons on Weed Street when we were in 8th grade, we went outside for a cigarette and locked ourselves out of the house. I got a window open and we climbed in by boosting and pulling each other up. Only after we got inside did we realize that only one of us needed to be boosted up, and the other one could have just gone and opened the door.
Time moves on, little girls grow up, and God moves in the land like a cloud moving across the sky.
An ancestor spirit stops by my home to see two women who look and sound like mirror images of each other deep in conversation. The spirit pulls up a chair. It feels nostalgic for this.
The Ides of January.