The cursed cell phone alarm rang at seven. I had not intended to be jarred from sleep but I let myself lie abed for a few minutes so no harm befell me. When I finally rose, my legs worked well enough, the dizziness had passed, and the craving for caffeine had taken hold.
I padded around the house shamelessly, slippers on my feet and robe clutched against my chest. One of the nicest things about middle-age has to be the sudden lack of concern for one's morning appearance. Hair scrunched, skin blotchy, nails bitten and bent. Yawn. Heat another cup of coffee, why don't you, you'll be fine. I laughed at myself and did just that, as the dog thumped her tail against the floor and eyed me, wondering, no doubt, if I would make her go outside.
I had to tell my son that Easter had come, during a call last night which ended with ten minutes at the end of the driveway talking into the air. I still marvel over the concept of Bluetooth, which connects itself to my mobile and allows me to chatter away as I drive down the roadway, both hands on the wheel, radio off, looking obliviously loony except for the fact that no one sees, since they're all on their hands-free cell phones, talking to their sons. Or daughters. Or whatevers. My son said, Tomorrow's Easter? I had no idea. Doesn't that come in April?
I didn't raise my son with any sort of religion. He's baptized in the Catholic Church, because that's what Catholics do, even recovering ones, and he spent two grueling years at St. Peter's Catholic Grade School which experience, he said, turned him atheist at the age of 10. I don't know where he stands on the existence of a divine entity, let alone on the divinity of Jesus Christ or life ever after, amen. We did Easter with the Taggarts, ham on the table, chocolate in baskets. Occasionally we visited other people's churches in our "Sunday Best", but usually we just did brunch in the dining room, eggs hidden in the yard, and lots of candy.
One year the Easter Egg Hunt halted while Maher Sagrillo, age 9, listened to his father tell him that as a Muslim, he could not hunt for pagan goodies in Auntie Corinne's front yard. When the phone disconnected on the faraway father, Maher's mother consoled him and Auntie Corinne said, Fine, then, don't hunt, and commanded the other little boys to fill Maher's basket before their own. Done and done. In their matching white shirts, the ones they'd worn in Auntie Corinne's wedding, Patrick, Chris, Sam, and Maher sat on our steps and ate themselves sick with jelly beans and Reese's Peanut Butter Bunnies.
When my brothers Frank and Steve were about that same age, mother made Easter cards from prints of the two little boys carving the pumpkin at Halloween the previous year. I hand-wrote the message inside each card: Happy Easter, Happy Spring, Happy Happy EVERYTHING. My mother loved a good metaphor.
In a little while, I will make a visit to the cemetery and then throw my bag into the car and drive to Honker Springs Farm. I will give myself over to Ellen Carnie's hug, and sink into her comfortable couch. We'll figure out dinner, and maybe have a glass of wine. Jerry Stewart, her gentleman friend, will squire us wherever we go. I'll sleep like a baby in the guest room under an old quilt, and waken with the first light. I will putter around her kitchen making coffee, which I'll drink on the deck, with the sun pulling itself over the horizon. I will tug a shawl around my shoulders and let the cool air cleanse me inside and out. By and by, we will go to Stony Point Presbyterian Church where Ellen and her friends will celebrate their risen Christ.
For my part, I will remember last Easter, when I sat in this same church numb from crying. I will shift so that I can see the people around me. Ellen will beam at me, and Jerry will ask me if I am okay. I will shake my head at both of them, signalling that they should pay me no mind. The choir will raise its voice, and within that tiny warm building, I will close my eyes and let the music flow around me, silently giving thanks that I have survived another year.
Saturday, March 26, 2016
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The Missouri Mugwump™
- M. Corinne Corley
- 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.
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