Himself: No jobs, but spiffy clothes to take a birthday cake at the Sunday meeting. Congratulations again, dear Geeeee-zer.
Herself: A errands and laundry Sunday now melds into a ferociously busy Monday. That’s good stuff: Bee, swim, Alanon, et al….all before lunch. I’ll take luch with me, actually.
Balance: Seeing G talk.
It has been a long busy week. I have been a failure at sticking to my bland diet…eventually I will remember that chili does not equal bland. My welfare worker called to tell me I wouldn’t have any money if I didn’t get a job now or get an exemption filed by next week. Then the city called asking me to come in for an interview for the position of Library Aide. Will welfare let me start on only ten hours a week? Will I get the job…oh my head is filled with suspense, but I didn’t fall all apart as I usually do. That’s good.
I got it. I am now employed. I work part-time, twelve hours a week at three dollars and thirty-eight cents an hour being a low man on the totem pole at two branch libraries. I shelve books. This is a special new beginning for me, and I am pleased. It is a real job; unlike the part-time jobs I have had for years, this seems to have solidity to it they did not offer. I have started new jobs before and know what I need to learn. I must now figure out what needs to be done, meet the new people, and learn the social patterns of the job. Best of all, I shall be dealing everyday with something I love, books
At the kid’s school open house, I am afraid I was a little too syrupy in my praise for the teachers, but then again, I am new at this – both the kids having good grades and me going to the open house sober.
Mother’s in the hospital again…an abscess from her last surgery. I called Jo to talk to her about it and found her in awful pain. The doctors have diagnosed a recurrence of the cancer…in her spine this time. We talked of her kids. Jay is just turning 21, and Bird is 18.
It was good these last four days to touch and be touched, to live in such warm freedom. So very good for the soul.
“I needed that,” he said.
This morning I stretched with sensuous pleasure remembering and laughed to feel so good.
I was sitting on the bed reading when Lenora called out, “John Lennon’s been shot.”
“He’s dead,” she said moments later.
My first thought was, “We can never go back.”
Monday: work and more pain. The doctor gave me more ulcer medications. I’m so discouraged about being sick all the time. Third winter in a row. This is the worst.
Only an hour after a whirlwind shopping trip with fragile mother, I come home to a cold reality of confusion and sadness. Jo called. It is cancer now on a femur. Raul arrived to visit just at that moment with a friend in tow. I was crying. The phone was pressed tightly to my ear. She read me a poem while Raul talked on insensitive to my focus on Jo. Chemotherapy. Radiation. I was stunned. Such confusions. Life and death. Is it always this way? Mother, beginning her long, slow death. Such sadness.
“Write Joleen. Write all you can,” I say.
Dream all you can now before you die.
When Miles calls, I tell him about Jo.
“I’ll write her now,” he says.
“No, don’t,” I say quickly, “For you never remember her name.”
“Then that is what I will write,” he replied. “I heard you were ill, and I didn’t forget your name.”
She will like that.
Just before Lessa left to go back east to meet her boyfriend’s parents, I asked her what she wanted for Christmas.
“A cookbook, I hope,” she said.
It was great at work today, and then I treated myself to lunch out. I have been regretting that until just about now. Charles was to have taken me to a basketball game, and he called and canceled. If I hadn’t been in such horrid pain, I would have been very angry about this. Instead, I grasped eagerly at the chance not to go.
Lessa phoned, collect. The operator sounded so dubious when she asked me if I would take the call.
“Of course,” I said with great vigor.
They are heading back this way and have broken down in Teryal Texas with electrical problems. She sounded tired but happy, accomplishing something. Our words were missing some quality of specialness, and just at the end I told her I loved her. Then it was all right. A link had been reestablished.
From my undemonstrative, angry family, I have learned to say nothing to keep myself safe. That’s not the way I should be living life now. I need to learn to live with an open reality as there is nothing else.
I wrote Jo and I told her how much I cherished her, how much I love and cared for her, and how much she means to me. I’m awfully glad I did this. I hope she doesn’t mind this kind of honesty especially now at this time. I don’t want her to think I wrote just because she is so ill. It is just a time for real words, and her illness was the inspiration that woke me up.