Saturday, February 27, 2016

Saturday Musings, 27 February 2016

Good morning,

I sit in a kitchen in the Dolphin building at Pigeon Point Lighthouse hostel.  A mother and daughter drink coffee at one end while I write.  Beside them, at their end, a woman with  lovely black hair and a marvelous Canon talks about the photography camp that she's been attending.  This scenario evokes the deepest contentment in my breast.  When you ask why I stay at hostels, this is the "why" of it; not the low cost, or the quiet, or the ability to cook my own food though all of those appeal to me.  But I stay at hostels for the people.

I lay in bed last night contemplating the events of Friday, listening the gentle snoring from someone in the bunk above me.  I had gotten  lost in a fog bank on Hawk Point above Marin Headlands.  I maneuvered the one way road at fifteen miles per hour, terrified.  I did not intend to climb the hill; I just wanted to take the coastal route back to San Francisco.  I finished the round back at the hostel and headed for the tunnel on Bunker Road and back to the city and the Nineteenth Street exit which put me on California Highway 1.

With the ocean to my right I drove south, first to Pacifica where I had breakfast.  The owner of the cafe told a tender tale of buying mugs with large handles in order to always accommodate people with arthritis in honor of his father.  I drank coffee and thought about fathers.  And brothers.  I tried to ignore the pain in my legs, breathing in the heady scent of the sea, taking the air deep within me and letting it ease the tension.

My brother Frank's face rose in my mind.  But not my brother the father of seven, grandfather of two.  My brother the nine year old standing in the doorway of the front bedroom in our childhood  home.  I lie in bed, twelve years old, suffering my first bout of dysmenorrhoric menstrual cramps.  My brother does not understand why I cannot do the dishes.  He knows my turn to wash has come; he's stamping his feet and accusing  me of faking so that he will have to do my chore.  She does not LOOK sick, he insists.  My mother does not know what to say.  Close the door! I snap.  I cannot believe the pain.

I fall asleep.

I waken to a gentle tap on the door.  What do you want, I groan.  The old walnut door creaks as it swings forward.  Through the gloom, I see Frank standing in the doorway, backlit by the soft light of the hallway.  I brought you something, he whispers, stepping forward with a tray.   I scrunch forward and prop a pillow against the wall.  My brother settles the tray across my legs and I see that he has brought a plate of vanilla wafers, a cup of hot tea, and the Sunday comics.

Now the sun rises over the waves which crash against the shore. The tension has drained from my body with a night of sleep.  I still feel a lingering anger at whoever stole the shawl from the front seat of my rental car and the billing officer from Stanford who waited until the Friday before my Monday appointments to tell me that one setting of testing has not been approved by my insurance company.  But with the night's passing, these seem less grim, less hopeless.  I realize that Brenda, who gave me the shawl, will not blame me.  I know that the one test which has been disapproved for payment can be done in Kansas City and the results sent back to Stanford.  Still I mourn the chance to sit beside the ocean wrapped in that beautiful shawl.

The cramps which wracked me at age twelve prompted that first Darvon prescription, my first step on the long slippery slope to dependence and addiction.  I once wrote a poem about those vanilla wafers that my brother carefully arranged on a purple Melamac plate.  I still have those plates; I claimed them when we divided my parents' belongings.  Every once in a while, when the pain claims me, I put a little pile of cookies on one of those plates and eat them slowly, with a cup of tea, and think about home.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Missouri Mugwump™

My photo
I've been many things in my life: A child, a daughter, a friend; a wife, a mother, a lawyer and a pet-owner. I've given my best to many things and my worst to a few. I live in Brookside, in an airplane bungalow. I'm an eternal optimist and a sometime-poet. If I ever got a poem published in The New Yorker, I would die a happy woman. I'm a proud supporter of the Arts in Kansas City. I vote Democrat, fly the American flag, cry at Hallmark commercials, and recycle.