Saturday, 26 December 2020

I opened my eyes.
I reached for the phone to check the time.
I saw a text from my son sent at this exact time but in his own zone.
I sent the third draft of my reply.
I hauled my body vertical, pushing aside nagging thoughts of a distant day when I would not be so able.
I crept down the stairs, clutching the rail and my tablet.
I used the restroom, then ran tap water into the coffee kettle.
I stood and watched that pot until it boiled.
I poured too-hot water over fresh coffee grounds.
I closed my eyes and breathed the fragrance of morning.
I whipped two eggs with the egg beater that my sister Joyce and I found at a St. Charles flea market three years ago.
I cut a piece of gluten-free Focaccia which my son had sent for Christmas, spreading butter into its tender crumb.
I melted more butter in a hot pan and poured the gleaming yellow egg mixture into the golden foam.
I opened the digital Times and mourned the world’s condition as the sun lightened the Delta sky.
I pulled soft cotton clothes onto my body and scrunched my unruly hair into a bun under a piece of elastic.
I thought a few minutes before sending a message to a woman whom I babysat many years ago, who had posted something on my Facebook page on Christmas Day.
I talked to her for twenty minutes before my anxiety clutched me and I said goodbye.
I rummaged on the porch until the fresh air had cleared the worry from my bones.
I called my friend Brenda in Kansas City to check on her Covid-19 test and felt a thrill of relief as she spoke.
I drove to the recycle dumpster with a load of torn cardboard boxes which once held gifts from people who love me.
I leaned out of my car window to tell Candice “Happy boxing day” en route to the trash bins; and eased my car the long way ’round afterwards to chat with a woman whom I had not seen for weeks.
I swept the piles of dried oak leaves from my deck to the strip of no-man’s land between my lot and that of my neighbor who does not like me and would surely protest if she saw.
I glanced at another text from my son, an answer, one about which he must have thought just as long as I had before sending my six-a.m. message.
I sent the fourth or fifth version of my next comment, and smiled at his swift one-word reply.
I drove to the park office to check on a package which my son informed me the post office had told him was delivered five days ago.
I sat in my tiny house and eased the tape from the package, shaking my head over the many stickers proclaiming its perishability.
I eased the gluten- and dairy-free lemon bars from the crumpled packing material, grateful for the spate of unusually cold Northern California weather which allowed the delectable pastries to stay fresh in the lamentably cold park office.
I sent a photo of my afternoon treat to my son.
I sent a photo of six plates which I no longer need to a young neighbor whom I thought might find them useful.
I carefully washed those plates in preparation for handing them over to my neighbor.
I made a skillet of fake cheese corn tortilla quesadillas and ate them with rehydrated sundried tomatoes for dinner.
I went outside to take a photo of the solar-powered copper angel which my sister shipped me for Christmas.
I scrolled through social media and forced myself to repress feelings of envy and invited my heart to feel joy for the pleasure which so many others experienced in the company of their families on Christmas Day.
I smiled again at a text from a neighbor describing the pleasure of eating one of the fancy chocolates which I had given her.
I watched a British home improvement show on YouTube while I forced myself to stretch the stubborn spasticity in my legs.
I composed an email to my fancy neurologist which I deleted twice before altogether abandoning.
I turned out the twinkling lights in my window so they would not disturb my neighbor.
I eased myself under the warm covers.
I plugged the phone into its charger on the bedside table.
I closed my eyes.


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