FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Weight of Shadows

Last Saturday, WidowRica and I went to Oregon Ridge Park’s Hot August Blues.  We sat among the flesh and talked about the flesh and our lives external to this particular flesh and the flesh internal to our own.  Claiming the plots were infants, toddlers, preteens, adolescents, teenagers, young adults, mid-lifers, oldies but goodies, and any age group I may have missed. Plenty of sunburns and young women in bikini tops and short skirts.  Acres of bleary-eyed, beer-guzzlers, clutching paper-plated fries and bloomin’ onions. In other words, the comedy and drama of Americana.

Bands performed on two stages beneath a cumulous-clouded sky.  During some lull, I turned, looked up the hill, and stared at a recollection:  I saw Hunter, sitting on Charles’ shoulders, John, nearby, with friends, and myself, at a fireworks display—an image powerful as a time capsule.

“Oh, Rica (oracle), I feel displaced.”

“So, we’ll make a list of venues?” she said, her accent lovely as music.

And, then: “Would you consider moving to Australia?”

“Too far away.”

Again, during Trombone Shorty’s performance, I looked back, clinging to a cache of memories.

(With that typed, I take my hands off the keyboard to rub my eyes. I begin gently, increasing the pressure to rid the lids of video reflections.)

We left just before the New Orleans, multi-talented phenomenon finished his act, possibly, worth whatever (?) else we’d sacrificed among Baltimore’s weekend activities.

Driving to the Kingdom of Cross Delusions, WidowRica and I examined and elaborated on our common feelings and antennae. We’ve discussed the loss of that hot/cold jolt to the chest when danger threatens. Illustration:  You’re on a plane that shudders or, suddenly, drops who-knows-how-many feet, and, WHAMMO, the adrenaline fight or flight slams like a freight train to your heart.  Neither of us has this survival mechanism, anymore.  Here’s WidowRica’s example: Friday morning, she was riding her bicycle, a member of Widows on Wheels (WOW), and was robbed at gunpoint.  She said no to the guy’s demand.  He shoved.  Took her bike and bag with driver’s license, credit card, bankcard, cash, cellphone, book, and sentimentally valued scarf.  And this is what she thought:  “Missy’s going to be upset that she isn’t here to die with me.”

I told son Hunter about the incident and that WidowRica and I understand each other, like conjoined twins, and he said, “But, Mom, why, then, do you worry about flies and mosquitoes, and bedbugs, and germs?”

Well, that’s simple:  I don’t want to get sick.  I don’t want the pro-long, prolongation of something nasty invading and occupying my bloodstream, intestinal tract, or respiratory system.

Anyway, I got up and ran on Sunday morning, thinking about life, love, loss, and, then, a category of stuff.  Of which I have too much. That’s it, I decided.  I’ll sell my condo and its contents, before deciding where to move. Anything I can’t separate from will be diverted to a small storage unit—the urns half full or half empty, depending on how one looks at the universe.  And, as you know, my assessment of the glass’s content changes multiple times a day, along with the color of my mood ring.  (I’m rubbing my eyes, again.)

And, suddenly, I see unopened sheets in a bag with a receipt.  Don’t need these if I’m going to put down my lendings (hit later).  “Put down your lendings, put down your lendings.” So, I drive to the store, make the return, and, of course, begin to look around. Hey, this is nifty—a pitcher with a freezable insert for cooling tea or sangria.  I take it to the register and, then, remember the purpose of the trip and that the more things I try to own, the harder it is to fall asleep.  And nights can be long.

I stop to see Laura and Erma, just back from a trip to Kentucky.   “This is E. J.,” Laura introduces, pointing to a kitten.  “A brother for Maggie Mae.”

“There goes the sisterhood, but you should’ve named him E. E., so we could say, ‘E. E., come in.’”

My “personal trainer,” who’s told me I use humor as a deflector, now, is emphasizing that we’re the architects of our own lives.  I think about this. I know I need to remove some walls, dig deeply, and restructure. Really, I pay attention to his words, because I’m desperate to build something monumentally strong (and portable) to bear the weight of shadows.

Missy Beattie wants to put down her lendings.  Email:  missybeat@gmail.com.

 

 

 

More articles by:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
Peter Crowley
Outsourcing Still Affects Us: This and AI Worker Displacement Need Not be Inevitable
Alycee Lane
Trump’s Federal Government Shutdown and Unpaid Dishwashers
Martha Rosenberg
New Questions About Ritual Slaughter as Belgium Bans the Practice
Nicky Reid
Panarchy as Full Spectrum Intersectionality
Jill Richardson
Hollywood’s Fat Shaming is Getting Old
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Wide Sphere of Influence Within Folklore and Social Practices
Richard Klin
Dial Israel: Amos Oz, 1939-2018
David Rovics
Of Triggers and Bullets
David Yearsley
Bass on Top: the Genius of Paul Chambers
Elliot Sperber
Eddie Spaghetti’s Alphabet
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail