After Noon

My body protests when I strive to rest.  Instead of sleep, I disconnect through the evening, read, and then watch the dark gather.  I see midnight, I see one o’clock.  I fall asleep after the last owl has swooped over the roof and the branches stop swaying against the windows.

The morning light dances in my kitchen as I make coffee.  A whole day looms ahead, a Saturday, a day for chores and grocery shopping.  I lurch around, straining to focus.  I think, I’m meeting Dia in the community room at 1 to visit while she paints signs.  My weary spirit lifts a bit.  I always feel better when my afternoon promises time spent talking with Dia.

I waste an hour trying to remember what I need to buy at the grocery store.  I have two essential choices:  I can drive into Lodi to go to Sprouts, which I prefer; or I can cross the bridge to Rio Vista and patronize the local supermarket.  My coffee cools as I contemplate whether to make the longer jaunt for better produce.  In the end, I delay so long that distance becomes the deciding factor.  The ache in my calves has quieted; I think I can probably manage the errand.

I do, but just barely.  On my way into the park, I stop to chat with a cadre of the regular dog walkers.  We talk about the menu for our Sunday potluck.   I pull away, waggling my hand out the window.  As I stop the car, a couple of vehicles pass my house going too fast.  A driver waves; I wonder if he realizes that I’m struggling with four partially filled bags of groceries.  The gravel spray  reaches where I stand, scattering around my feet.  I watch as he circles around to the park entrance.  We get a lot of “looky-Lous” here; they can’t believe we live in these small, nontraditional dwellings, RVs, trailers, and tiny houses on wheels.  They think we’re a freak attraction.  I shake my head and go into the house. 

By the time I get the food put away, it’s after twelve-thirty and I’m worried about being late.  Then my phone chimes and it’s Dia, letting me know she’s not ready and will be there at 1:30.  I suddenly realize that every muscle in my body has cramped so I drink some water and sit, doing nothing, for a solid thirty minutes.

I get to the community room before Dia and stash some drinks that I’ve bought for the pot-luck in the park’s refrigerator.  I stand in the center of the dusty space for few minutes, studying the books that we collected three years ago for a lending library that nobody has used since before the pandemic.  I shiver in the chilly air and think about turning on the heat.  My calves shudder.  I go back outside into the warm sunshine just as Dia crosses the parking lot.  My spirit relaxes.  If life awards you just a handful of good friends, I hope that one of them has a radiant smile and a heart of gold, like my friend Dia.

It’s the ninth day of the one-hundred and twelfth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

Dia threw a Christmas party and invited everyone in the park. She made all the candies and cookies herself. Her husband and some of our neighbors helped her decorate.

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