Baby, it’s 3 a.m. I must be lonely.
There is something all too cliché about the “middle of the night” publication, but I honestly couldn’t sleep. Daniel does this thing when he goes to bed – he turns on the television. And it will take a while to wake me up, but it always does. This time the ‘Sons of Anarchy’ were having a blowout, gunfire ablaze, bright lights flashing like crazy. This would send any normal person into seizures, but not Dan – to him, it’s a lullaby.
He’ll say the next day, that he had to work all night and how by the time he finally made it to bed for a few hours rest, I was fast asleep. Snoring.
What little does he know.
I swear to God, sometimes I look over at him and his mouth is open and this old man sound is escaping from it and it scares me to death. I’m not ready to take care of an old person; I’m not exactly doing a stellar job with my own self. I get worried that I’m going to wait for him to come round long enough to look over and find that he’s using a walker with little tennis balls on the bottom.
Of the 120 indoor plants I have been nursing, one of them started to look unhappy once I removed it from the bathroom I use. It is by far, the ugliest plant I think I’ve ever seen from the succulent family of cacti-looking atrocities. I didn’t want the damn thing in my personal space, so I took it from the room that was always bright and sometimes humid – and ultimately removed it from its climate of survival.
He says, that was his wife’s “favorite” plant. But I think I’ve heard him say that before, about some goddamn thing growing outside or whatever else we happen to be talking about. So I have been killing her favorite thing as long as I’ve let it slowly petrify in front of the fireplace. Recently I summoned the last remaining charitable bones in my body and divided the two living stems in separate pots and fertilized them before I set them by windows.
One of the things is here with me, now, in the room I moved all of my furniture in to. A ticking clock of a plant that will either sprout something new in the next few days or give up the ghost. These plants, these step-children of animals that puke and shed and shit everywhere, I find myself so sadly out of love for them. It’s just not the same.
The chaise I’m sitting on now to type is just here, the blanket is the blanket I found lying over it. I pulled the fabric over my lap, so foreign to me but instinctive, like a hotel lounge I never leave. Like a woman who must have stayed here and then lost her memory. The little sign in the window that I’ve carted from one place to the next says: Home is where your story begins.
Home was where my story began and there is truly, truly no place like it.
I decided to come in here, put a record on and write over the little cry fest that has started to become routine. It’s simply exhausting, when your breathing is all restricted and you’re trying to maintain the level of snot coming from your nose. I’d rather be here, away from the anarchy and all of its sons, doing something that I enjoy.
Some days, as I’m backing out of the driveway, I remind myself of something Daniel said to me.
“You can’t let yourself be happy.”
All of the bullshit, the struggle that is so hashtag real, I tell myself that it’s my personal syndrome. My refusal of satisfaction. And then I tell myself to get over it because that broken record gets awfully repetitive and annoying after some thirty years. Everything is okay, it just seems like it isn’t because that’s the only thing I believe in.
I gave the dogs a bath last night. Duchess was jealous when Tess was in the tub and she kept trying to hop in with her. Silly pug. She’s next to me, sharing the blanket and pillow because I always have a place for her, always. The big dog is lying on the cold, hardwood floor and when I tell her she should go to bed she just gets up and nudges me with her cold nose.
I’m looking at her, messed up haircut and all, and I’m thinking: this was someone’s family dog. This dog was loved like I loved Lacy, the girl who accompanied me growing up. But the woman died and those kids left and didn’t take any animals with them. So she’s here, half-stupid, looking back at me with a little of that frustration of having to deal, day in and day out, that I can relate to.
I’ve always had my own room. Home, college, home, apartment, house – even when I was living with someone else I felt a sense of ownership because I had full control – and used lots of it. My bed, my closet, my decorative boxes filled with My Little Ponies and everything always black and pink. Well, once Daniel loses the bedroom set in there as part of a pending court bargain with his step kids, he is turning that in to his gaming room: fancy seats that vibrate, cords galore.
I realized yesterday that for the first time, I’m losing my room. I have to consolidate. Say goodbye to the little box I’ve been coordinating my entire life, the color scheme I’ve loved for so long, the pink room that contained all of the cutesy shit I always refused to let clutter up the rest of the house. I have to figure out where my clothes go. Where I’m doing my makeup. That space I’ve always had…is going away.
Daniel’s bedroom is not an option. He took the liberty of filling every closet with his own clothes once the space freed up. My queen size pillow cases don’t match his king-sized Waverly bed set. The vanity in there is two feet from the ground, in the darkest corner of the room, and that flimsy little stool would ruin my knees and my back. And her pictures are still on the wall.
I don’t suppose I’ve ever really had my own room, anyway.
The illusions we keep.
This blanket, this pillow, this seems like it will be just as well. Nice and quiet, too.