10 March 2016 – Mother came out of her cupboard this morning. To paraphrase dad, “I was on the phone in my office. Legs up on the window sill. Admiring the sunshine. When I felt a presence behind me. Turned around and there she was. Standing at the door. I wondered if I was seeing things. She held up an envelop, widened her eyes. I reeled in my legs, swivelled my chair, got off the phone, and sat upright. She put the envelop on my desk. ‘Divorce papers,’ she said. I didn’t know what to say so busied my fingers at the upper edge of the envelop. She stepped to the window and drew a deep breath. Like she was outside. The moment froze. Her standing, me sitting. For I don’t know how long. Then I felt her hand on my shoulder. ‘Don’t worry,’ she said. ‘It’s signed.’”
He said that she said she was leaving. “As in, you know, the bigger sense of leaving.” He said that she didn’t say where she was going. And that he didn’t think to ask. He also told me that he still didn’t know if he said anything while she was there.
I thought of calling her. Then thought otherwise.
12 March 2016 – Poignant afternoon making muffins with Dot. I was a little inwardly scatterbrained when I got there (another morning writing and scrapping Delilah scenes). Dot noticed straight away, of course, but left it alone until our batter was in the trays. While we waited for the oven to heat up she asked what was on my mind. Actually, what she said was, “Honey, what’s with the hairshirt?” I didn’t know what a hairshirt was. She described it as bearing the weight of the world on your shoulders.
That cleared the air some and got us to our more customary mode of talkativeness. I mentioned that I had been contacted about interviewing for a job I wasn’t sure I wanted. She asked why. I said it was the same job I’d had before I went back to look after dad. She nodded and said she understood. I told her about mom. She asked how I felt. I said I didn’t know what to make of it but that, if anything, it brought a kind of comical closure to things. Dot looked me up and down, as if to verify that my body language was in agreement with what I had said. There were question marks in her eyes but they quickly brightened to butterflies when the oven alerted us that it was ready.
We put the muffins in to bake and headed outside for a walk. I asked about the trip. She said Melville and California got on famously. Like he’d forgotten his dementia on the bedside table here at home. It warmed her heart to see how much life he still had in him. I asked how he was doing since their return. She said he had his ups and downs. There was a pause there. Like she wanted to say more. Instead of pressing for details I put my arm around her. She leaned into me and everso quietly said, “Ostensible soldiers.”
Not certain I’d heard her correctly I repeated the words to her as a question. She smiled. “Don’t imagine you’d have heard that before.” She explained that it was one of Melville’s expressions. Used as an alternative to ‘stiff upper lip’.
That out of the way, the rest of our afternoon went to script. We finished our walk. Had tea with fresh muffins and gossiped til the boys got back from their movie.
On the way home I asked G if he’d ever heard his dad say ostensible soldiers. He smiled but said no.
16 March 2016 – Interviewed for my old job.
18 March 2016 – Job is mine if I want it. Have until Monday to decide.
20 March 2016 – While I made us a late lunch G wrote this about our day:
15 x 15
Above along below the ground. So much track, so many wheels.
What we saw speeding through the drab curves of downtown corridors.
With our covered elbows crowded there at the backmost window.
Disembarking, both of us taking the stairs two at a time.
Even spits of rain could do nothing to dampen our spirits.
Twas as if, holding hands, no one else knew where we were going.
And neither did we, bold pedestrians, until we got there.
A short bridge with cherry-red rails over a small round pond.
Sharing the barest thoughts like that she liked her navels fuzzy.
Or that the pine tree had a large number of middle fingers.
That we play god every time we turn on or off a light.
Hungry koi gathered and called dibs on whatever we might throw.
But all we had to give was the special nourishment of words.
Is there anything more inspiring than a moment in bloom?
The thunder in our hearts tells us our knees are wet for bending.
Kills me how simple it seems to be for him. Took him all of half an hour. Fucker.