Shades of Gray

Shades of Gray

 

When you’re a child you think everyone tells the truth.

You think your mother and father will be together forever.

When you see your first divorce it’s kind of like seeing your first accident.

You can’t believe this could happen

Sometimes people stay together because they can’t stand to be alone.

They tell themselves it is  for the children

but actually it’s to spare themselves pain.

Sometimes you think it’s better to lie and have maybe three or four different lives and after a while you don’t know which life is real for you.

I’ve known a lot of people like this.

Unfortunately more than one have wanted me to join in but the problem is I don’t see shades of gray.

I like black and white.

You are mine I am yours and that’s it.

Call me crazy but it’s a heck of a lot easier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Craters in the moon

When I was eight years old my father brought home home a long, rectangular cardboard box which he opened after dinner carefully

outside our front door. It was a clear night and warm as I recall and he removed from the box like a surgeon removing a baby from the belly of an unconscious woman during a cesarean section a long metal object with legs like a strange frozen spider, an arachnid made of metal.

 

Astonishingly to me, he set up this apparatus in front of our house on the brick patio still warm from the June sun in Connecticut.

I had no idea my father had the skill to produce a box of such wonder and then open it and set up an apparatus which apparently was designed to look at other planets and other worlds yet unknown to us six children.

 

It was dark and my mother Hubbeled for a while but then slipped into the house and we were left on the front patio with my father and the apparatus and the warm June night which made anything believable.

 

My brother turned to me and said “ Look through the telescope and you will see the moon. The craters in the moon are caused by ricochets from bullets in the second world war.”

I remember thinking then that war did tremendous damage.

 It never occurred to me that he wouldn’t tell me the truth just as it never occurs to me now that people lie.

 

Looking back, the awe and magic that moment inspired In me was something

 I thought of for a long time.

 

If guns could cause damage to things that could only be seen from telescopes produced from cardboard boxes our fathers brought home, why did they exist?

 

The Last Bing Cherry

 

The Bing cherry is named after Seth Lewelling’s Manchurian orchard foreman and friend, Bing. Bing was over 7 feet tall. The Rainier cherry, named after Washington State’s famous volcanic peak, was created in 1952 by cross-breeding the Bing and Van varieties.

Wikipedia

 

 

 

Yesterday I ate the last cherry in the white bowl on the varnished wood counter

In my warm kitchen.

It sat there in the bowl, shiny, impervious to dust, all afternoon staring up at me like a disemboweled eye.

Why did someone name the cherry Bing?

after a 7 foot tall Manchurian, a candidate for the forgotten man?

In my mouth the cherry felt like a vulnerable marble: warm not cold and very round yet porous; wondrous, and intimate: impossible for an explorer to resist. I pierced the shell of the cherry with my one Wisdom tooth and tasted through my teeth the sweet and the bitter, surprising youth and pungent old age. Holding it all under my tongue slowly moving the pieces I wondered was there anything else so delicious on earth as the last bite of anything on earth?

Bing Cherries

The Best Memory

                                   The Best Memory

 

 

The best Fall I remember happened outside of Paris due

north near Chambord in November maybe October’s

when the Beaujolais Nouveau was released along with

me…I walked out

the door of the inn we stayed in

while you drank with our host.

I wandered following troughs of wet leaves marking

the crusades and the dark fall  all yellow

smelling of dank and my life as an

obedient pathfinder Joan of Arc

wanting you to worry I was lost

yet  knowing you never would.

Hours later I reluctantly returned just as I used

to at 8 and still no one noticed.

I think we made love that night

as we usually did but the bed was small, you

said, as you moved across the parquet floor

to the adjacent one

and closer to your children across the

Atlantic and I imagined

us leaving in the morning croissants uncurled

and me dressed in black because you said it was

best and before I knew it we were back in

California and you were married again

yet I was still outside of Paris in November

in 1996 longing for something I had felt

for a brief moment but never again.

This moment

The most important thing to do for me is to keep reminding myself that every breath I take is an exercise in staying alive. Don’t look to the future even if it’s just tomorrow. Don’t look at the past and all the shadows. Just keep breathing. If I need something to calm me down I think of my grandchildren. I am very grateful for them. I’ve had other periods like this in my life but they were from my own depression which caused me to feel that I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything. The fact that this is caused by a worldwide pandemic is too mind boggling to even comprehend. So I focus instead on the books in my house that I have yet to read, and the people that I hear from that I love so much. That’s my work. I wish I could help you find yours.

OK I was wrong

So I was wrong when I wrote that yesterday was Wednesday because today is Wednesday. Who cares? Some friends of mine and I went to visit a retirement community yesterday. It was a necessary day of travel. It was necessary because all three of us are going crazy. We keep looking for places to live when we’re old and some in our group are older than others. Here’s what we want: nice cozy apartment that belong to us, a dining room where everybody is friendly and the food is delicious, a year round pool and a year-round gym and the possibility of having nursing care if you become gaga. And I don’t mean lady. Do you think this is easy to find? Well you’re wrong. Most places we have seen have been incredibly depressing. Even in California there’s no one walking around outside. The places inside are small and claustrophobic and in the dining room everything is painted brown including the Naugahyde chairs. I don’t need a lot because I like to chat up people which is the story of my life. I’ve met several people on airplanes who have become lifelong friends. Now that I’m older I do feel more fragile but still feisty and independent so I know I don’t really want to make a commitment to buy something right now unless I could sell it right away if I didn’t like it. Some of these places give you tests when you try to buy a place to see how long it’s going to be before you totally lose it and they have to pay for you. If someone gave me a test like that I would clearly fail . I have a very hard time taking anything seriously. As you may have read before, I definitely have oppositional defiant disorder. I would be leading revolts and protest marches and sitins in the old age homes if things weren’t up to snuff. If I couldn’t find enough people join me in doing this I would recruit them from the outside world and dress them as members of my community. The whole thing is interesting. How do we live when we are old? I think most women would say they don’t want to stay in their house with their husbands because the husbands by this time are grouchy. Also they require constant feeding.I have a hard time with anyone that requires constant feeding even a goldfish..This may explain why I live alone. Anyway I’m going to visit as many of these places as I possibly can and then I am hoping I’ll find a bunch of people who will want to start our own place. We could buy some property someplace and build a main house with a giant commercial kitchen and a great room where we could all hang out and eat together and play games, maybe even hide and seek,and have a generally convivial time. Then we could all retreat to our individual apartments until we were ready to meet up again. There would be a big vegetable garden and we would have places for young people to live with their families so they’d be happy working on the property and we would get the benefit of seeing the children running around. Worst thing about getting old is being shoveled off to a building where there are only other old people. I think the best thing in the world would be to get old with a bunch of pals in an environment that was young and fun and loving and compassionate. That’s what I’m looking for

It’s Wednesday

It doesn’t really matter what day it is because nobody knows anyway. Maybe bankers know. I don’t know. I don’t really care. I have a weird feeling that things are not going to get better for a really long time. I’m used to my mask by now and in fact I find it quite handy. I could be a bank robber, or an anesthesiologist. I go for the latter. I think there are a lot of people who would be happy to have me put them to sleep right now. I don’t think I’ve eaten any vegetables today. Normally I would know right away what I’ve eaten each day. I don’t really like fruit. We never had fruit in our house growing up. We had six shiny mackintosh apples in a straw basket on top of the red counter in the pantry. They were the only snack we were allowed after school. I hate apples.