Thursday, December 31, 2009

dec 30 early morning

I am back at my father's house. We had sunshine the whole trip down. I sleep in his wife's bedroom. She is in Miami with her daughter; she does not have snow or cold winds or an old man to take care of. Her room is full of flowers-the draperies, the chair, the painted dresser, the sheets. Dried flowers arranged in a shadow frame-her daughter's business. Pictures of her grandchildren in different sized frames. She has been my dad's wife for thirty years. Our family pictures have never blended.
Last night I dreamed of my first husband. I washed my hair in the kitchen sink this morning, using green travel-sized shampoo and conditioner. I made organic coffee in the french press that I brought from home. Dad's coffeemaker is an old white drip-pot of an obscure brand, and he buys his coffee from Dollar General.
This is my third trip here in a month. The route is straight through Indiana, down route 41. There are old houses, weather-beaten barns, occasional farm animals and worn signs. We pass through several little towns. The skies are usually beautiful. I stop at Subway and get gas at the Pilot station. At my dad's corner, there is a machine rental place, and huge backhoes are lined up along the highway. They always look like brontosaurus heads to me, necks extended.
I read in Dad's chair until I hear sounds. First, the water in his bathroom. Then, the thumping of his scooting down the stairs, one step at a time, on his bottom. It has only been ten days since he fell down those stairs. There is still blood in the carpet; I make a note call the guy to finish the job. He comes around the corner and smiles. He is wearing his Christmas sweater. I want to cry but smile back.