Wednesday, October 31

Water main broken down town. No laundry, no dishes. No baths for the kids. The water's brown. So dirty it leaves a ring in the bathroom sink. I can't make coffee.

At the market my mother tries to talk to everyone. She mistakes their wanting her to move her carriage for a more pleasant eye contact. She doesn't understand.

At the check-out the man looks at each thing. Says its name. Says its size. 28 ounce can of 'Kitchen Ready' tomatoes. Rings it in. Looks at the computer and reads what it says. 28 ounces. Kitchen-ready tomatoes. Artichokes. Oats-and-More cereal. Market Basket shredded chedder cheese. Martin's potato bread.

It is the longest check-out. Sam is crying. My mother puts him on the conveyor belt. He is happy. I bag my groceries as they come down. The man doesn't turn the second belt on and I have to reach for the tomatoes and the cereal and the cheese.

My mother is minding Sam. She doesn't put her groceries up. By the time I notice this the man behind her has his out, blue divider between his and mine. I pick Sam up and put her food where he was.

The man puts a pen in front of Sam. He picks it up. He gives Sam the receipt to sign. The man looks at my groceries and wants to bag the rest.

Sam is crying again. I ask the man to please ring her food in. He wants to bag. I ask again. I promise I can keep them seperate. He yields. By the time he is done naming her food it is almost all bagged. He tells her the total: $43. She only has $40. My card is already in my bag beneath the groceries. I dig it out. Take her $40. Pay for her food.

On the way home we stop for a cup of coffee. She digs in her purse for money to pay for it. I tell her it's my turn.

Saturday, October 27

Hard this week, the days of it all together with the days that have come before them. Those two houses. They make me remember. Standing in line for hours. Looking at bodies and trinkets. The delirious feeling after hours in one room. Saying I'm sorry and hearing I'm sorry and being sorry. The way faces all look the same. The way make-up cakes at the edge of a bullet hole.

Thursday, October 25

Today everybody is tired. Our feet are sore from standing in lines. Our babies are grumpy from lack of sleep.

We are the lucky ones.

Tuesday, October 23

Outside on the smoking deck blues inside and they're joking show it they say and he lifts his shirt under his arm the tatoo the numbers sniper's numbers and I can't help but think of what they mean what sniper means what marines means and I say something about peace and go inside and I am standing there standing my eyes are tearing and an older man talks to me tries to cheer me up tells me not to change the world not to try and says its okay but I'm thinking about numbers and snipers and murder and death and I'm thinking about babies and children and parents and I'm thinking about parents and dead children and death and I'm crying and the band is playing and the whiskey's gone and I'm crying I go outside I go back outside and talk to him and he's fine it's okay and I'm crying about number and dead children and he knows he agrees and he shows me a picture of his boy twelve years old and he talks about war and about being young and about politics and love and green energy and in the end we're talking about Colorado and the weather and in the end we are talking about baseball.

Friday, October 19

Stepping outside this morning it feels like spring. The birds singing in the bushes, a lightness in the air, a new crop of peas coming up in the pot by the stairs.

We are dancing in the kitchen, a baby on each hip, singing in full voice. We are eating root vegetables and ripe pears.

I am remembering how important it is to hear your name spoken out loud.

Wednesday, October 17

The day is half-way done and I am starting to slow. We are drinking tea to stay warm. We are remembering how to layer our clothing.

Around every corner there's another thing to do. Trying to keep up with it, trying to be productive. I have a picture in my mind and I doubt I'll get to it.

I am holding my head high. Trying to find value in matching socks. I'll have to turn the heat on soon.

Tuesday, October 16

Waking up every morning to the price of oil rising. The sunflowers outside have all turned brown. The birds are making the most of them.

Everything is one step away from desperation.

Monday, October 15

The house is cold again, today like yesterday and the day before. I won't turn the heat on.

An hour at the market and at the end of it the fear of not being able to pay. Electrical glitch last week, expected money absent all weekend. I packed the cold things together in case my card didn't work. Crossed fingers. It did.

Leeks from Friday at Appleton Farm and potatoes from last week's sale on the stove. Everything I do gets quickly undone and I do it again. All day this way. Clean up the blocks. Sweep the floor. Fold laundry. Repeat.

I'm listening to songs I shouldn't bother listening to. They fit the futility of the day. Only recently familiar and already like old friends.

The sheets are in the wash. This is recycling week. The soup on the stove is warming the kitchen a little and there's coffee almost ready to drink. I might slip away and ignore the whole thing.

If you think I'm crying for you today you are less than half right.

Friday, October 12

On the way to the doctor she says she is going to throw up. She is wringing her hands. She says she is going to be bad.

She has new buttons on her jacket. Buttons all over the front. Where the top button should be is a string of five or six buttons that jingles when she walks. There are buttons on the side with button holes. Silver and gold, silver and gold. One with a pearl center. She has sewn antique buttons all over the front of her jacket.

When we get to the door she starts to run away. I grab her, hold her. She screams at me and tries to shake her way out. The buttons on her jacket jingle. She frees her arms and swings at me. Let me go let me go no way no way no way. I hold her again and tell her I love you mom I love you. She is crying.

I ask her if she remembers last year. She doesn't. I tell her how dark it was. How she couldn't talk or paint or sew. How she wanted to die. I ask her if she is happy now. She says yes. She lets me bring her in.

When the Mormons came this week they tried to answer my questions by the book. They told me I need the milk before the meat. They sat and knit and let me ask about celestial marriage and sexism and the spirit mother. We talked about love and god. In trying to tell me that love is god the talking one read a passage that made me an antichrist. She was so sad when I pointed it out.

Before they left they sang a song for me and said a prayer for my mother.

Inside the doctor's office she is mad and she is crying and she says no no no. She doesn't want to be there. She won't let him touch her. By the end she has answered his questions. She is mostly quiet. She is resigned.

Driving down Washington Street bringing her home she says I take good care of her. She says she loves me. She says thank you.

Tuesday, October 9

Every time I have to tell someone it becomes new again. When I say it I can see the parts of her brain going away. The dark spots on the scan. When they start to cry I cry too.

Tomorrow when the Mormons come back to talk to me about heaven I will ask them. Is there a place in heaven for the parts of a person that go away?

Wednesday, October 3

When the Mormons come I don't know what to do with them. So I teach them how to knit. They sit with the kids while I look for yarn. They pick shiny metal needles from my extras. They chose colors.

I cast on for them. They are nervous. They fumble with the wool and it slides all over the place.

The quiet one gets it right away. Her hands know what to do. The one who talks about blessings and the prophet and the book is having a hard time. Her stitches are tight. She splits the yarn.

I ask them what they are doing. Four hours of service a week. They came to my house to weed-whack my lawn and I start them knitting hats for Afghans. They ask if I was raised in a church. I ask why circumstances of class and connections are called blessings.

The quiet one finishes a row. She says something thoughtful every so often. The one who talks has trouble with her tight stitches. She keeps returning to the book. She tells me about rules and blessings. About following laws even if you don't know them. I talk to them about anarchy and Jane Eyre.

I lend them a book of knitting instructions. I know they will be back to return it. The one who talks asks me to write down my questions so she can research them. She says she's no genius. They leave me with the Book of Mormon. With passages to read.

They say I must be obediant to have the blessing of my home and children.

They have no idea.

Tuesday, October 2

I called this morning to tell her I would be late. Just after noon. When I got there she was upset. She didn't know where I was. It continued like that today. Missed cues, little complications. Typical for a Tuesday.

There are things I want from a Monday. Sometimes they come, sometimes not. I have no right to them but I want them just the same. A little music to dance to, some Monday night words. The best I got last night was reading My Vote Counts to a most offensive mayoral candidate.

Sometimes these days of the week have minds of their own.