Wednesday, June 29

Drive in to the meeting, game on. New place. Hard to park. Small turnout, the usual suspects, carded at the bar and a Guinness for me.

No point to the meeting. No point. The boys and I sitting around. Me trying not to mind the drive in for nothing. The boys talking about nothing. Mike Wallace. Renter’s market.

Turn to nostalgia: children’s shows, coal fires. Matt wanting to go back in time. Seven kids, two parents, coal fire and fresh fruit scones. Better then. So I try and I can’t think of a time I would want to go back to. Can’t think of a time that is better than this.

Wait at the bar, game over. I don’t know Brighton. One-way streets, no choices, cop behind me. Just keep going. I don’t know the streets. Don’t know Brighton. Keep going. Drive until things look familiar, kind of, tracks down the road and finally a sign. Beacon Street through Brookline past Coolidge Corner. Beacon Street into the heart of the monster.

Asshole fans in their SUV’s and I am too tired. Trying to think of a time. Wood stove, three kids curled up in front. Mom with her hand through the glass door. Robert crying every day, running away just out of sight. Asshole fans cutting me off and blocking the roads and honking.

Try a side street to get away, it’s blocked by fans clogging intersections. Turn around. Run away. Back up Beacon to North Harvard. Middle school. Drinking and lying and trying to get away, friends’ parents dying of heroin overdoses and men grabbing my breasts. Jane yelling at my mother and making me diet. Dad getting sick and us starting to know it.

Down North Harvard, into Allston. Familiar places all the way. Road work on the bridge , Storrow Drive instead. High School. Galen dying. Willie killing himself. Stephen dying. Always thinking someone would die and not really being far off. Restraining order and running away and looking out at the ocean crying. Staying up at friends’ houses after everyone was asleep and looking out the window. Crying. Trying to make it.

Storrow Drive down to one lane and the assholes join in. So tired my eyes are drooping when it dawns on me: I have never been happier than I am now. I love my husband. I love my baby. I don’t think anyone I love is dying. I am responsible for myself. I like my life.

Me in every period before this exploding with joy. Beaming. Me trying so hard to be happy. And now I wake up and Abigail kisses me. I don't have to do a thing. I don't have to try.

Route 1 and I am tired and hungry and thinking of course about what must be wrong. Something must always be wrong. And the saddest thing I realize is people dying unhappy. Not just sad but so far gone there is no joy. My mother. I want her to be happy. I don't want anything else for her or from her. Just to be happy. She used to beam and laugh and be happy but it's been months since I heard her cackle. And then the other saddest thing. The people I love hurt eachother.

Nearly crying now thinking of how much someone I love has hurt people. I need to stop. I need to get something to keep me awake and keep me going mind's on grand mal seizures and hospital rooms and stories not believed and whole histories being dismissed.

Drive-Thru. 24 hours. Pull over, search for change. Get to the menu and I just want something to drink but late night, limited menu. The woman doesn't understand me and I don't understand her and because I can't figure out how to get just a drink I end up with a meal.

Back on the road caffeine and fries and I really have been happy for most of my life. But I don't want to go back. Local boy, grown man now, arrested last week trying to get back to before his brother died, spray-painting mailboxes to remember. I don't want to go back. Past the malls empty lots flashing lights on the south-bound side. I was happy then. I did happy things.

Awake now, mind racing, burger uneaten. Home to sports radio left on downstairs. Hoping someone is awake for me to see for me to say I love you. I am happy. But they are upstairs asleep and my mind is racing. Each of these things so full so good and bad like swabbing my father's mouth as he died. There is comfort in everything.

These are the things I did. These are the things I remember. Tomorrow is trash day and I don't want to bring it all out tonight. I should go to sleep if I want to get it done before the truck comes tomorrow. When I was in young I would sit on the rock barely peeping through the part of our yard near the street and wait for the trashmen to come. I still love the sound of their trucks.

Monday, June 27

Sun-burnt skin in a deep v, cheeks and nose and chin. Woke with a start to a dream of morning, this morning, and all the done things still needing to be done. One hundred and twenty finger sandwiches. Iced tea. Lemonaid.

Trying to catch up all week to slow down and catch up clean up and slow down. Hoping for that time when the things that hang are done and the ideas that pass are noted. Eleven squares of thrift-store fabric, varying sizes, still quite seperate and slightly undone.

Clean the study, put the gate up. Think of notes to write. Notes to write. Try to keep the dishes clean, try to avoid ants. Wash diapers. Wash clothes. Try to think of what to say. Try to think of how to put eleven squares together.

Paper plates. Paper cups. Knife for the watermelon. Tablecloth. Trying to remember how to hide what I am thinking. Trying to figure out when I lost that skill. Buy a cake: Glosta Rocks. Bowls for chips. Four bags of ice. Kiddy pool.

Fiesta gone, Viva! Viva! Me on the beach alone in a crowd eating a sausage from Ambie. Funny to think that anybody looking at me can see what I am thinking. Watch the greasy pole, watch the crowd. Try to make note of fashion.

Is it having a baby? Never being alone? There are a good number of things in anybody's head that don't need to come out. Moments of sadness. Distraction. Frustration. Things that are no less real if they are private. Things that are no more real if they show.

Abby miserable in the heat, heat rash and sweat. Can't sleep. Won't eat. Better after the rain, waking happy and kissing me again. She is learning from me how to be. Kissing and smiling and cooing in the back of her throat.

I am trying to be alone more often. Trying to have my feelings alone. Alone being with Abigail, of course. It hasn't done anybody any good to know what I am thinking. There are so many parts to life, so much to feel about. I am red like a lobster and my skin hurts. I have talked about hats with important people and they may know I don't care. That can't be nice for them.

Wednesday, June 1

Keeping up appearances:

Use products. Be careful selecting them: some will break your hair or turn glass green. Be conspicuous. Say things like "Today I washed the floor with Better Person. It's the only thing I use now."

Don't watch t.v. Only watch good t.v. Only watch movies on your small t.v. Only watch good made-for-t.v. movies on your t.v. that's small. Only watch small movies.

Be creative. Do creative things with gusto. Be careful; gusto sometimes knocks things down like a strong wind and creative things are often fragile. Break things. Break things and be put-out.

Return phone calls. Good people return phone calls.

Keep up appearances. Brush and shave and wash and neaten. Neaten and wash and shave and brush. Remember to be attractive. Don't just be, be attractive. Everyone must remember to do that at least. It is very important.

Learn to say the right things. Say things like "I think this war is a sham." Don't think about the war. The war makes me sad and nobody likes it when I am sad. Say things like "The war is a sad sham." No, leave sad out. Nobody likes to hear about sad things.

Be polite about families. Comment that that is nice. Nod. Smile. Don't let your own family interfere with your life. It makes friends uncomfortable. Smile and nod. Say they are well, or that you just don't talk anymore.

Make drama. Only make drama when nobody will be put out. Say things like "I called poison control to make sure the birds really can eat red berries. I was dreadfully worried." Be dreadfully worried. Concerned is also a good thing to be. Be concerned about things that are none of your business but that people are interested in. This is useful for small talk. Small talk is useful when you are returning phone calls.

Answer the phone calmly.

Read the books your friends read but only after they have finished them. This will make them feel smarter. Keep quiet about books you don't like; nobody likes a spoil-sport. Be sure to like the books of people you might meet.

Keep your body under control. A body is something to be commented on, not enjoyed. Make sure your body is humble and slightly uncomfortable. Don't be too sure of yourself. It makes people angry. Be certain to dislike most of your body. Talk to your friends about how you would like to change yourself. It makes them feel better than you.

Don't tell people's secrets, unless conversation gets dull. Dull conversation is to be avoided at all costs. Return phone calls. Be attractive and in control. Smile. Nod.