Completed my painting. Perhaps I should have called it “torn” or “brokenness.” Keep our world’s babies caught up in systems or simply lost close to your heart.
Ken and I were in the car talking rather than moving up, out and toward our hair appointments. Because part of my defensive driving plan as I age is to pull through parking spaces so I will have a clear view when I exit, we had the perfect sight line to observe a speeding car travel catawampus across the parking lot. The dark blue SUV landed cross-way over three parking spots directly across from us.
I said, “Ken, look at her!”
Ken laughed more at my reaction than at the woman clearly breaking the drive-slowly-so-you-do-not-mow-down-a-pedestrian rules.
We watched a middle-aged woman step out of her car in a black, tight, yoga-type outfit. Fancy cut-outs near the hem of the Capri-length pants pulled our eyes away from her mane flying freely.
The lady moved quickly to the island between the parking area and the main pathway leading to HEB. Ballet lessons in her past were doubtful as she teetered on tip-toe, reached up and broke off a small branch of lavender crepe myrtle.
Her beneficence self-produced enough blooms to fully fill a large vase. Smart. If the plan is to steal flowers from a park or parking lot tree, why not take a generous arrangement?
The panther smelled the crepe myrtle and her face softened. I could see the pride she felt holding her prize.
When she returned to her car, she saw us – the old people watching her illegally park, vandalize a crepe myrtle and escape with her haul.
Her smile invited me to be a coconspirator – to revere nature and beauty, to live as an adventurer, and to be empathetic to her need for smell, sight, touch, and all the sensory experiences innate in each petal. The thief and I – kindred spirits.
He enters the kitchen,
his skin glistens and
the pungent smell of movement
pushed against the early morning greets me.
I am happy to see him.
He pulls me against his sweaty clothes,
so I fuss as he tightens his embrace –
a thoroughly pleasant ritual.
He gives me our subdivision’s farm report.
“I saw six Harvey* Juniors,
three squished toads
and one lizard entering our garage.”
I pat the stomach of my walking Buda
before he moves toward the shower.
Grand gestures inside a marriage are less
about flowers and candy than acknowledgement
as bare feet stand against worn walking shoes
on kitchen tile on an ordinary day.
Great men need not lead a charge or
command a Fortune Five-Hundred business.
Great men are aware,
count Harveys, toads and lizards,
recognize all joy is in the present.
*Harvey: the fictional rabbit friend of Jimmy Stewart in the movie Harvey.
Married for about three months, Ken and I allowed the stress to rise as we packed for a trip to Kansas. Between Ken’s compulsive need to pack everything neatly rolled and lined strategically in each suitcase and my strong desire to organize and complete the task before I died of old age, the loading of the car was a major challenge. Although I am a tough, independent woman, I allowed him to refuse the use of my garment bag the previous trip; so I fussed as I folded my clothes with the knowledge they would be hopelessly wrinkled at our destination.
Weary from our struggle over clothes and luggage, we had a difficult first day on the road.
Our first hotel morning I woke up to find Ken on the edge of the bed. He said, “I think I need to see a doctor.”
I immediately thought of chest pains or a stroke. Should I call 9-1-1 and ask questions later?
Ken continued, “I cannot sleep.”
Relieved that we were not calling 9-1-1, I asked why he could not sleep. I have accused him having the princess(prince)-with-a-pea-under-her(his)-mattress syndrome.
Ken said he had a paper cut from opening the mail he had picked up from his daughter.
I began to giggle.
Then he said, “I was up looking through the toiletries bag for anti-itch cream and antibiotic ointment….”
Now my laughter is rocking the bed.
He adds, “…and I could not find the bandages.”
I made the snorting noise that embarrassed me. I am out of control.
Finally, to make his misery more clear to me, he says, “And you did not help by getting out of bed to walk off the leg cramp.”
“I drove eleven hours yesterday,” I defend myself through tears and laughter.
He has the last word, “Well, my throat is sore because I talked for eleven hours yesterday!”
God help me, I love this retired LtC and his good, compulsive heart. Just call me Mrs. Monk.