I took my last final Monday. That's it. I'm done with classes. And then, the planets aligned themselves in a way that hasn't happened for a very long time. They cut hours back at work just about the time that I finished with school.
No school. No work. A stretch of long days to do what I want to do.
What did I want to do?
I stopped on the way home, got some cleaning supplies, and I got busy. I remember when we were moving in, and my sister and I were talking, and I said, "Everything is so nice and tidy. It's going to stay that way. I'm going to have a neat house. All the time."
She gave me a doubtful look.
As it turned out, it wasn't but a couple of weeks, and work and school and moving and Tim's back problems, and wouldn't you know it? A tornado went through my house and it was not the white tornado from the commercials, the one that leaves things spotless and fresh.
Tim kept moving boxes from the old house to the new. Things that I didn't have time to put away, and laundry began to pile up, and holy cow the ironing! and no time to cook, and there are 26 windows in that house, and that's a lot of curtains, and thenwell
It bothered me to have this beautiful house and no time to do anything that I wanted to do, but suddenly amazingly, miraculously, there was time. I began to clean. I polished woodwork, and cleaned hardwood floors, and caught up on laundry and put boxes of stuff away. I hung pictures and ironed, and hung curtains. I had time to cook proper meals for my husband, and we were able to sit down and eat them together at our little table in our yellow kitchen.
After all the weeks of school and projects and presentation and papers, it felt wonderful to indulge my long ignored domestic side, and I began to feel calm, and centered, and happy. I liked fixing a place up and then standing back to survey the results and being happy with them. I began to count my blessings, and realized how many I had. I was contented and happy.
Tim brought in the mail, and opened a Christmas card. He read, and the quietly said, "Who is this?" and said a name. I was busy at the counter dishing out our lunch and answered in a distracted busy sort of way. "A girl that I went to high school with," and he said, "Well, she's got stage four breast cancer. There's nothing they can do for her."
The Dave Matthews Band has a song. 'Funny the Way it Is' is a song about contrasts, contemplating that people are starving while other people are eating to excess. About having a wonderful afternoon in the park and hearing firetrucks whiz by. Your good days happen simultaneously with the hard times of others.
I stopped what I was doing and sat down to read her newsletter. She's been wondering about her legacy. She talks about floods of memories.
Later, after Tim left for work, in my beautiful home, on a dark afternoon, in my peaceful place, I remember too. I remember being a young girl. I remember being surrounded by other young girls. We stood on the fringes and watched the popular girls, and the jocks, the important people, and we recognized that we were not important.
We were quiet, but laughed together. We found our own space. We made our own niche. We were a small but happy subgroup. We couldn't imagine what it would be like to grow up, or to get old, and maybe that is why, when I look backward, I see us all as suspended in time...almost as if we were different people. I suppose that we were.
I wonder about things. I take stock of my own blessings, and once again, I realize how fortunate I am, and I find myself wondering about that too. Why? Why am I so blessed?
There is no answer to this question.
There is no point to this column.
It's just a moment, my own moment. I sit quietly in the midst of a life that I never imagined possible. Yet here I am. I sit staring out the window at a gray afternoon in an absentminded way, as the clock ticks from the front hall. I am listening to the voices of young girls. We are laughing.