Sunday, July 24, 2011


Sunday July 10, 2011

In Evansville, one can really experience a midwestern summer. I used to escape here to my dad’s comfortable old colonial house, at the end of the school year, in mid-June, and recover from the end of the year crazies by sitting by the pool and reading a good book. Little by little I would feel the brittle, tired, stiff effects of stress slowly melt into the warm animal of my body (as Mary Oliver described it): skin getting browner, sitting further back in the chair from my usual perched position, easily succumbing to a nap just about anywhere.
Last week my dad brought me down here in his seventeen year old white Lincoln continental, driving all the way down Indiana on old 41, stopping at the Subway and the Cracker Barrel, because of the cancer, because he needs to have me within his sight. Just too scary to talk on the phone with 499 miles between us right now. He needs to see for himself that I can function allright despite this giant mass of tumors in my liver, that every night I sleep and all day long I eat fresh tomatoes, sweet corn, peaches and Posey County melon without too much trouble beyond the occasional mild protestations from my digestive system. He needs to see me laugh and watch movies and help out of in the kitchen and put some makeup on the morning, which any woman knows is a sure sign that you aren’t too despondent. There is some kind of healing quality to going through the rituals of doing one’s hair, putting on the mascara and the shadow, dabbing on some cologne and showing a little cleavage. I don’t want to look like the sort of cancer patient that I grew up seeing on TV. The thing is, this isn’t all that difficult right now since I feel pretty much like I always have. I still have some kind of naïve protection from what I already know about this cancer that says, “yes, take those vitamins and supplements. Eat the yogurt, good for your liver.”
Dad brings me food and iced tea and offers me a blanket on the couch. He pats me on the head and on the arm and gives me such sweet, reassuring smiles that it nearly makes me cry.
There’s a birdhouse right outside the back door that has a GO BLUE license plate for a roof. Inside there are baby birds, whose wide-open mouths you can see as the mother bird comes and goes, her jumps off the edge of the little house creating a soft, swinging motion, back and forth, like a cradle. At night, she sits inside with her head framed by the round opening hole.

1 comment:

annie hagar said...

Lovely lovely lovely, mama.