Valentine’s DayI placed a hesitant hand on the smooth metal door handle of the Hallmark store and pulled it open to the sound of tinkling bells. Ruby hearts hanging from the door jamb brushed the top of my head as I stepped inside and headed for the Valentine section, an explosion of pinks and reds. Crowded with last minute lovers like myself, we had to jockey for position as we searched for the perfect card. Studying people’s expressions with secretive sideways glances, I longed to hear the running commentary inside their heads. I have always been a last minute Valentine shopper because I dread it. I can only bring myself to buy something simple that says “I love you’. All of the other cards in the store are stupid. With every card I read, I have to add one more sarcastic sentence in my mind. Or at the very least, a clarifier. I can’t leave it alone. It’s very stressful. After a quarter of a century of marriage few of them ring true. Can we all please admit that many of these sentiments are, at the very least, stretching the imagination? I have long considered designing a line of Valentine cards the are grouped according to the number of years you have been married. I long for little ditties like this: Loving each other has been a long, hard road, but I still think you are cute. Or: Can’t wait to celebrate our love at Donovan’s Steak house because we got a $150.00 coupon from your client. Or: Let’s stay up past 9:00 PM and make out for eight minutes straight. Love is damn tricky. An enigma. So much has been written about it that I dare not add to the rubble. But if I had to, if Cupid put a gun to my head, I wouldn’t waste time composing an essay as it would never capture the layers, the nuances. I would take a thousand noble words and nestle them in pairs with their less than noble opposites. Then I would shake them in my cupped hands like dice and toss the whole collection off of Juliet’s balcony and watch them scatter and bounce on the cobblestone streets of Verona until they landed in a mish-mash mural of the language of love. Maybe I would even take a photo of it and sell it to Hallmark for next year’s selection. “Excuse me,” I said to a young woman with a sparkly diamond ring. She smelled of lavender and caressed a card like it held the whereabouts of the Holy Grail. “Just reaching for this one.” I grabbed one depicting a romantic table set for two. It unearthed a memory. My husband and I became engaged at Papa Pirozki’s in Atlanta on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Who chooses to propose to his bride in a Russian restaurant on December 7th? Looking back, I think he had a subconscious yearning to personalize the Cold War, to plant it as a seed in our relationship. Though the rest of the world was evolving beyond such ideology, it was apparent that he was some sort of fan. I hadn’t expected it to be a night unlike all other nights as we were rekindling a relationship that had been on a long hiatus. Neither of us expected the marriage proposal to play out the way it did. But maybe that was a good thing. Perhaps it’s the couples who do everything according to the Prince and Princess Handbook who don’t survive when the magic wears thin. In retrospect, I think it was better to start this union with our gloves on, in a boxer’s stance. One needs to understand strategy and battle maneuvers. It is vital to appreciate humor and build camaraderie in the unexpected foxhole. These are the necessary skills that keep a marriage alive. Flowers and chocolate are useless. I remember sitting alone enjoying the candlelight and crystal that adorned our table for two as I held a thumb-sized glass of fruited vodka, icy and thick with raspberries. I loved the way the color matched my fingernails, the stark contrast of them against the white linens reminded me of the raspberry and cream popsicles I ate as a child. Feeling relaxed and elegant I took tiny sips as I gazed around, nodding to other couples nearby who were beginning to notice that my date had disappeared. I wondered what was taking him so long as he had excused himself to go chat up the chef, whom he said was an acquaintance. A black door to the kitchen swung open and Tim burst back into the room, all smiles. At 6’8” he wasn’t known for quiet entrances. “Ivan’s going to send out a few freebies. Said he’d take care of us.” Tim plopped into his chair and smoothed his blonde hair into place. He downed his fruity vodka like it was Kool-aide and motioned for the waiter to bring us another round of drinks. “Great,” I said picturing all sorts of exotic Russian delights appearing on plates that were once served to the Romanovs. “So how do you know this guy?” “Met him at a radio event. He’s from uhm,” Tim snapped his long fingers as he recalled the information, “Moscow. Yea, that’s it. Moscow.” “What was the event?” “Does it matter?” “No.” “So what’s with all the questions?” “It was only one question. Why are you getting agitated?” “I’m not agitated.” He picked up the second fruity vodka and downed it. “Would you finish your first drink already?” “Fine.” I threw it back like a pro. Then I picked up the second one and saluted him. “Let’s just relax and enjoy this. We only have two days before I fly back. I missed you.” He took a deep breath and exhaled through flared nostrils. I put my hand over his drumming fingers. Something was up. “Are you okay?” I asked. A young waiter with Ricky Riccardo hair swooped over, handed us menus and then gave a run-down of the night’s specials. We each chose an entrée and Tim asked for another round of drinks. “Tim. Maybe we should slow down on the drinks.” “No.” “Fine.” What was wrong with him ? It seemed as if he had left his usual joking demeanor in the kitchen with Ivan. I threw back my second drink in one gulp and choked daintily into my napkin. We could take a cab home. “So how are things at the airline?” Tim asked as he took a piece of bread from a silver bowl. Thrilled to have some normal conversation, I started into an elaborate story about a new dad who tried to change his baby’s diaper on a fold down, jump seat. As I got to the part where the dad laid the baby on her back while he held the jump seat down with his knee, Ricky Riccardo came back and placed a small salad in front of me. “Zees is from Ivan,” he announced as he stood back from the table. I nodded to him and smiled. “Thank you.” “No problem.” He beamed as he retreated to the water station. It was ugliest, driest looking salad I had ever seen so I pushed it to the side as I continued my story. Tim stared at the salad and then back at me. “That’s your salad,” he said. “There’s no dressing. And what is this stuff? It’s not even lettuce. It’s cabbage or who knows what?” “Have some salad.” His voice held an edge. “I don’t want the salad.” I calmly stated, the words evenly spaced and heavy on my tongue. “Eat the salad,” he whispered through clenched teeth. Beads of sweat were forming on his brow. I gave him my most powerful defiant stare. “Eat - the - damned - salad.” “Fine.” I pulled the salad over and started to pick at it with my fork suddenly feeling other people’s eyes upon me. I looked around and noticed them, whispering in hushed tones. “What is up with you?” I could barely conceal by growing rage. “I thought we were going to have fun.” Blood was pumping through my veins, banging in my ears. I took a bite of one of the bitter greens and held up my fork as I chewed it. “This is disgusting. I thought Ivan was your friend.” Then I saw it. A velvet box of midnight blue half hidden under shreds of carrot and radicchio. Panic gripped me like a giant hand and squeezed tight. No, no, no. I did not want this to happen here. This was not what I had choreographed in my ten-year-old heart as I picked at my chenille bedspread on sleepless nights. I could see our waiter going from table to table alerting the others to our impending moment. “Honey,” Tim leaned on his elbows and bore into me with blinking eyes, "Stop blinking your eyes like that. Take the box out of the salad." “I don’t want to.” “Open the box, Susan.” “People are staring.” I attempted another defiant stare but it was difficult to pull off with tears plopping onto the table. “Open - the - damn - box.” Though I don’t remember willing them to do so, my shaking fingers pushed away the vegetables and picked up the small velvet cube. All eyes in the restaurant were on us. I opened the box and a diamond solitaire caught the candlelight. I looked up at Tim and stared as his lips moved without sound. I glanced at the staring eyes to the left and then I glanced at the staring eyes to the right, distorted faces like funhouse mirrors. “Well?” Tim asked with a face so vulnerable and earnest that I suddenly couldn’t imagine a life without him. “Will you marry me?” “Yes.” The room ruptured into cheers as Tim handed me a third vodka and held up his. And we burst into laughter, toasted each other and cheered along with them. The whole experience did not play out the way either of us had imagined. It was not the traditional down on one knee sort of proposal on the beach at sunset, nor was the ring magically unveiled on a covered silver dish as he had hoped. It was clumsy, unexpected, and filled with nervous emotion on both sides. It was real and heartfelt and awkwardly expressed the way marriage often looks on a daily basis. In retrospect it was the perfect engagement. “Must be a funny card,” Ms. I Smell Like Lavender commented as I giggled to myself. “Just brought back some memories,” I sighed as I put the card back in its place, “But it’s not the one I’m going to buy.” “I think I’m going to get this one,” she confided as she held up a photo of a sunrise on which was printed ‘Every sunrise means another day of loving you’. I forced myself not to add a sardonic comment and ruin her choice. She opened the card and pointed to a wall of poetry five inches long. “This poem says it all for me.” “How many years?” “One. Well almost,” she said with a shy smile. “You?” “Twenty-four.” “Wow. So, what’s the secret? What have you learned?” I plucked a simple white card with a simple red heart and opened it for her to see. “This is the card I get for him every year. Because after awhile, you learn that these are the only three words that matter.”
Posts tagged: love
A Mother's SilhouetteI awoke for a moment in late afternoon, the hospital room spare and efficient. I looked over and saw my mother sitting with a rosary in her hand, a cool dark silhouette before a window fiercely illuminated by the hot desert sun. “You don’t have to talk,” she said noticing I was stirring. “I’m just going to sit here.” Thank you. It’s exactly what I needed. An immense, familiar peace filled me, her profile eliciting early memories as I continued to drift in and out of sleep, my body ridding itself of the anesthesia from an early morning surgery. I dreamed of sitting tall beside her as she drove the white station wagon with two sure hands on the wheel down bright summer streets, and squinting up from my canvas raft to see that she still sat in the striped beach chair in case I needed her to rescue me from the crashing waves. Then I was suddenly spinning on the old brown naugahyde covered stool in the kitchen as she prepared dinner, her black wavy hair in sharp contrast to the fading glare of a snowy afternoon through windows over the kitchen sink. I felt the weight of her as she perched on the edge of my bed saying prayers with me, the hall light streaming behind her into my room cloaked in night. Her slight frame in the living room window as I pulled up to the house in an old blue Ford with my first boyfriend. All of these memories, backlit, glowing. A mother’s silhouette. Anchoring, soothing, solid. As an adult, going about the daily routines, I had forgotten about the calming, restorative effect of having my mother simply sit in my presence. I looked to her as I always have. My mirror, my friend, my ever present reminder-er that my hair cut is all wrong and my weight is too low. All these years she has been the constant in my life. Now sneaking around the edges of my heart is the knowledge that she will someday be gone. It is an unbearable knowing. Where will she be when I need her? Who will be backlit for me then? The ability to have children may end, but mothering endures. It is a singular and beautiful calling to become the silhouette to God’s light here on this earth. In this room, helpless and still, I saw clearly that my position in the chain of motherhood would remain unchanged. A child doesn’t stop needing his or her mother simply because he or she is turning fifty, and a mother’s instinct to love her children never ends. My thoughts turned to my son and daughter, young adults trying to find their way and make sense of their circumstances. I wonder if my silhouette holds the same power. If I was there when they needed to peer from their own darkness and look toward the light. If I understood when they were young that love shines brightest during the simple moments of mothering that become so routine that we perform them without thought. I look forward with a new understanding to the many years I have left with them. Even if that means just sitting in a chair in a shadowy room by a sunny window, a chance to remind them of the immense, familiar peace of a mother’s love in this often harsh world. I awakened again, my head pounding. She was there in a second with ice chips and a cool cloth. “Do you want me to turn off the ceiling light?” she asked as she leaned over me. “No, leave it on,” I replied adding one more image to my my treasure box of silhouettes. Sheets smoothed, pillows adjusted she stood searching for some other detail to attend. “Thanks, Mom.” I said as I felt the tug of sleep once more. “I’ll just sit over here,” she whispered. “You don’t have to talk.”
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There was a time when such a sighting would incite a frenzy of motion. Two sets of feet would come running from the playroom and the three of us would note, in whispered tones, the butterfly’s every move, Buy Ambien Without Prescription. Online buy Ambien without a prescription, Matt would point and try to bang on the window and Katie would scold him like the big sister she was, imparting wisdom like she was the expert of How to watch a butterfly without scaring it away, Ambien dangers. Ambien pictures, And there we’d stand, noses pressed against glass, Ambien use. Ambien overnight, “Do you think it’s a boy or a girl?”
“Duh, Katie, buy no prescription Ambien online, Ambien alternatives, it doesn’t have any babies with it. It’s a boy.”
“Look, Ambien treatment, Ambien maximum dosage, it’s sitting on the top branch!”
“What if it falls?”
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Then off it would flutter, its magic along with it, Ambien class, Ambien online cod, though the moment would live on though rudimentary etchings of crayon on white printer paper and countless remember whens before bedtime. Buy Ambien Without Prescription, I miss sharing those moments of innocence. My heart still calls out to my two babies when these everyday delights are revealed to me at odd hours. I have a feeling it always will, purchase Ambien. Order Ambien no prescription, It catches me off guard, this new stillness, after Ambien. Where can i cheapest Ambien online, This empty house of mine, the now quiet car rides, get Ambien, Ambien wiki, the lazy almost reckless way I can saunter through the market. I am realizing that emptiness is not always solitary, where can i buy Ambien online. I am startled to discover that these quiet spaces are inhabited by ghosts, Buy Ambien Without Prescription. Ambien results, This strange new phenomenon is putting me on edge. I am being visited by my children at their various ages. They haunt me, purchase Ambien for sale, Buy Ambien online no prescription, these younger versions, like they are trapped in time and I am separated from them by a clear glass wall. A blond head with a coloring book at church, order Ambien from United States pharmacy, Ambien forum, a giggle of silliness that erupts from a toddler at the mall, tanned skin and baggy swim trunks digging a hole to China at the water’s edge, and a pre-teen with gleaming braces and a long pony tail. Katie and Matthew’s faces are everywhere, their voices fill my head.
I know I am grieving the end of an era. Grief always involves mysteries of one sort or another. Buy Ambien Without Prescription, Our two children have grown up. And these little sightings I can handle, explain away as the musings of a mom who’s moving on. But there is a presence of two other beings that I can’t explain. Two blurred faces who have recently begun to roam the halls of my house and sit on the edge of my bed.
After almost sixteen years, long past the days when I accepted that two of our babies had not made it to term, I am wondering, once again, who they would have been. How their lives would have blessed us and the world. They would be in high school with boyfriends and girlfriends and displays of acne that would curse their days.
This shocks me. To tell you the truth, I never would have guessed it. Miscarriages happen all the time. A natural process, the doctor had assured me, making perfect sense. Of course it was a disappointment, but I was young. I’d have more babies, she promised.
But she was wrong, Buy Ambien Without Prescription. We didn’t. Years passed and we didn’t have a number three; no number four. I cried my tears and then, one balmy Spring day, I surrendered. We accepted and stopped trying. That was that, or so I had thought.
It can’t be coincidence that the door has sprung open to these memories at the same time I am grieving the empty nest. There are four spirits wandering in this house, not two. How can it be that I am just now considering that? Of course it impacts a universe when a pregnancy ends in miscarriage. There are souls involved, and the souls of children claim their mothers with a bond stronger than time or distance. This thought comforts me, two little ones who will always remain.
I dry my hands on a kitchen towel and fold it just so, knowing that it will not end up in a heap on the floor or secretly used to wipe peanut butter crumbs off the corners of a teen aged mouth. The Monarch flutters past the window again, and then a second one joins it. I study them as they hop from leaf to leaf, unaware of me and the two little noses pressed to the glass.
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In 1987 my husband, Tim, and I won a trip for two to Japan. Lorazepam pharmacy, It was our first real adventure together, two young kids, order Lorazepam online overnight delivery no prescription, Cheap Lorazepam no rx, just married, off to see the other side of the world, Lorazepam images. Lorazepam long term, West meeting East on an unexpected first date.
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The Woman with All the Answers
As a child, I loved going to the movies and live theater with my mother. Though neither happened often, the experiences captivated me. The Sound of Music became an obsession, buy generic Bromazepam, Fiddler on the Roof almost did me in. I knew that ‘Sunrise, Buy Bromazepam from canada, Sunset‘ would be sung at my wedding the very first time I heard it.
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I shock my family, sometimes, when I belt out a few stanzas from show tunes we might inadvertently hear on on the radio as we are searching for something more hip. “How do you know that song?” Matt would implore as I channeled my inner Carol Channing, Buy Bromazepam Without Prescription.
Somewhere along the way, Bromazepam recreational, I stopped going to live theater, other than school plays. I stopped seeking the magic of performance for no good reason other than it cost money, and I was too lazy to plan ahead. I stopped spending art filled afternoons with my mother because I was busy with important things like shopping at Walmart and Home Depot, Bromazepam samples.
Yet, any time I would fill out some silly questionnaire or worksheet that would ask for my hobbies and likes, Herbal Bromazepam, I would always include theater. And every time I checked that box, I would smirk to myself, ‘Big Fat Liar. You used to, Bromazepam mg, but who are you now?’
When the theaters in town sent out their pre-season info this time, I made a conscious decision to put this experience back on my priority list. Buy Bromazepam Without Prescription, Why do we do that. Bromazepam online cod, Why do we stop doing the things we loved to do when we were growing up. I met my mother for coffee and we made an afternoon of it, poring over the glossy brochures deciding which performances we’d choose. We decided to be sophisticated and choose three dramas we had never of, wrote out checks on the spot, is Bromazepam addictive, and sent them in before we could come up with reasons why it was an unnecessary extravagance.
We met on a Sunday at the Phoenix Art Museum where my mother had been a docent for many years and dined in their café. An artful, Purchase Bromazepam for sale, fitting start to our year of theater. Afterwards we followed our map-quested directions further downtown to the Herberger Theater, a lovely venue in downtown Phoenix. We were seeing The Woman with All the Answers, a one woman play about Ann Landers, effects of Bromazepam. Okay, it wasn’t exactly Phantom of the Opera, but it was a start, Buy Bromazepam Without Prescription.
Once settled into our seats we looked around. The place was packed. Fast shipping Bromazepam, “I’m the only one younger than seventy,” I whispered.
“More proof,” she began with a knowing nod, where can i order Bromazepam without prescription, “that older people know how to enjoy life on a Sunday afternoon.”
I had a flashback of the two of us, thirty years earlier, Bromazepam overnight, side by side on plush red seats in a theater on Broadway, my patent leather shoes barely scraping the floor. Buy Bromazepam Without Prescription, “I feel like such a lady. Don’t you?” she said as she smoothed her skirt and patted her hair into place. Her eyes were gleaming. I did feel like a lady, dressed in my Sunday best, buy Bromazepam from mexico, hands folded, waiting for the curtain to rise once more and take me on a journey. I loved this feeling of doing something with my day other than chores and ‘getting ready’ for the week. Bromazepam canada, mexico, india, Getting ready for what. Being busy. How many Sundays had I passed up the opportunity to feel like a lady. How many Sundays had passed in my life without taking advantage of quality time with my beautiful mother, Buy Bromazepam Without Prescription.
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We were transported to her living room, June 30, Bromazepam alternatives, 1975 as she was trying to pen her infamous column about the break-up of her thirty-six year marriage to her beloved husband, Julius. Because she was utterly heartbroken she found all sorts of other topics to talk about rather than writing the column. And through her humor and the reading of letters and conversation with the audience, Online Bromazepam without a prescription, we learned about Ann Landers, the woman. Eppie Lederer, the sister of Pauline Lederer, the double-crossing identical twin who went on to become her adversary, kjøpe Bromazepam på nett, köpa Bromazepam online, Dear Abby. A simple, yet complicated human story that reminded me that all of our lives hold opportunities for greatness and none of us escape sorrow. My Bromazepam experience, We learned of her rise to fame, how she won a contest to take over the column after the death of the original Ann Landers, and became a trusted advisor to the public for many decades. But though her life was full and exciting, Bromazepam mg, it also had its share of pain and betrayal. Buy Bromazepam Without Prescription, Though her words held great power in society at the time, she was powerless in situations that deeply plagued her.
There was one particularly moving scene in which she recalled speaking with President Johnson, Bromazepam dangers, personally begging him to end the Vietnam War. To drive her point home, she traveled to the war torn country for three weeks, visiting the bedsides of wounded soldiers, a few thousand by the end of her stay. She recalled the moments sitting by those bedsides, where can i cheapest Bromazepam online, holding the hand of one and touching the forehead of another, asking about their homes, Bromazepam gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release, listening to their stories. Her mission was a powerful one, to stand in for the mother they desperately needed.
This was the moment in which I remembered why I loved the theater when I was young, Bromazepam brand name. It connected me to a life bigger than my own, broadened my understanding of the human experience, Cheap Bromazepam no rx, made me a better person. In the glow of the stage lights I could see tears glistening on the cheeks of many, cloth handkerchiefs lifted to eyes and noses; a powerful silence filled with a grief so real I could reach out and touch it, Buy Bromazepam Without Prescription. Like the whole place was afraid to exhale, afraid to unleash long buried terror. This audience bore those memories in a deeply personal place, Bromazepam price, coupon, some of whom may have been in Vietnam themselves.
Finally Ann finished her sad letter to her fans, About Bromazepam, humbly admitting even she, the lady with all the answers, after all of her years of preaching against divorce, could not hold her own marriage together. She asked, buy Bromazepam online no prescription, "How did it happen that something so good didn't last forever?” I could see a thousand heads nodding with her in the darkness. Acknowledging that good things in our lives do end, Purchase Bromazepam online no prescription, and it hurts. Living proof that memories do not stand all alone in the moonlight. Buy Bromazepam Without Prescription, When the curtain came down, I did not want to move. I wanted that feeling of human connection to last. I wanted to think about the reasons why we let things that are important to us slip away. Why is it always a shock when the very things we stop paying attention to end.
“Maybe we should sign up for a few more of these, Bromazepam maximum dosage,” I said as we searched for our purses and waited for the majority of people to file out.
“I was thinking the same thing,” my mother said as she buttoned her jacket and adjusted her grey silk scarf. “That was wonderful. I didn’t want it to be over.”
“Let’s make sure that these Sunday outings together continue.”
“Well, you’ve already convinced me that older people know how to have more fun on the weekend,” I began as I looped my arm through hers and walked slowly out of the theater.
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