Monday, December 12, 2005

Life Goes On

The Bake Sale Nazi is on a rampage and my mother-in-law is dying.

The neighbor tells me her children, "cried from Biloxi to Hattiesburg. They didn't understand why we couldn't stay. They ran from room to room touching the two by fours. This is my room. This is Mama's."

I never understood what people meant by life goes on. I'd heard it said by many people, in many ways.

"I lost my job but life goes on. I've got to keep going and not look back."

"The dog got run over by a tractor. Hunting season is comin' up soon. Better get me a new dog. Life goes on, ya know."

"My mother is dying. Isn't it funny how life goes on?"

The sun keeps shining, the children keep playing, the deadlines don't go away, the Bake Sale Nazi insists you be at the Bake Sale the entire 12 hours that it is going on.

Your children must go to school. You must make money to pay the rent. You have to get out of bed.

"Call me tonight," she calls out to me as her car rolls by in the carpool line. "You need to add the times we need help to the Bake Sale reminder handout."

"Could she make it more difficult," I say under my breath. I want to scream, "They can bring booger muffins for all I care." But I don't, because it is not her fault.

"Park over there, Daddy!" I hear her yell from 6 cars back. Daddy is half deaf, pointing the munchkin to the bathroom when she asks for an apple, the first time I went over to discuss the bake sale.

Daddy helps her into her wheelchair, she leans so far forward, as he pushes her towards me at my post, that I hope she doesn't fall out in the middle of the carpool lane.

"That bake sale is in one week," she tells me, pointing her finger, somewhere around my upper thigh. "And I haven't heard a thing from you."

I listen, committing to nothing.

"Gotta love the bake sale lady. She sure has definite ideas." The school secretary informed me a week earlier.

"We need signage, new tablecloths. Fred's has some cute ones that are cheap. Labels for the baked goods. You'll probably have to be there all day Wednesday as well to receive the stuff."

I know what she meant now.

How do I tell her that explaining, why the man on the bicycle is wearing a neon orange shirt and pants, with his gut hanging out in between, feels like too much right now.

Three school parties and a beginner violin concert on Friday.

A bake sale on Thursday.

Life goes on and my mother-in-law is dying.

Thanks for the memories!

This came from Writes For Chocolate ... Let's see how creative y'all are!

Please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL MEMORY OF YOU AND ME. It can be anything you want–good or bad–BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE. When you’re finished, post this paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people DON’T ACTUALLY remember about you.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

O Christmas Tree

The Fraser Fir takes up half the room. Branches hang over the love seat, smacking me in the face if I move in the wrong direction.

"How are we supposed to get to the table, Mama?" The children ask me.

"Just squeeze right in between the couch and the love seat there." I tell them, wondering how my fat ass will fit through.

"This tree is obscene," my friend comments the first time she sees it. "Has Bill lost his mind?"

"Has he ever had it?" I reply, gazing at the monster. "18 HUNDRED lights, if you count the swag on the window."

"Dear God," she says.

My husband tells me about a little boy, in a worn out blue jacket and patched jeans, gazing at trees: Fraser, Eastern Red Cedar, Leland Cypress, Douglas Fir. He can't decide.

He walks to and fro between them, hand running along each one, feeling the sharp poke of the needles against his palm. He wants the BIGGEST one, the one that will reach the ceiling and fill up the empty corners of his home.

"Can we have this one Mama? Please!! This one!!" He asks, tugging at her jacket with small hands and pointing to the biggest one on the lot.

"Not this time, Billy." She knows the small packet of bills in her purse must last for 23 more days.

23 more days to have no space to move in the living room.

552 hours for the neighbors to wonder what the hell we were thinking.

33120 minutes to heal a grown man's heart.