Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Helium

Thanks this week to Margo!! 
And as for me.

This morning we woke to a few inches of snow that fell stealth and silent in the middle of the night. School was cancelled again but the bakery was open, so we took the dog into town to get a cup of coffee. She loves running circles through the snow and collecting a little beard of it under her chin.

Up the road we passed three girls in their early twenties building a snowman on the front lawn of a little rundown house. They had dressed him in denim and eye glasses and were currently engaged in a debate over what medium to use for his facial hair. They'd been at it for a while and seemed to be having such a good time.

The four of them, the three girls and their snow friend, they reminded me of something. That sweet time after college, before you've been peeled off and sealed in with your partner and your family. That time in life where your friends are your family. You brighten up your shabby house with collages and flower pots and hanging sarongs, work in bookstores and coffee houses and take care of rich people's children, you complain and commiserate, your hangovers aren't so entirely ferocious, and you can do things that seem unfathomable now, like sit with your friend while she's getting her hair cut and flip through a magazine, totally unconcerned about all the other things you should be doing.

Lately, even when I'm working hard at one thing, all the other things I have to do hang over my head like a cartoon storm cloud. It's a terrible trick of the imagination to be haunted by this cloud, to feel lazy even when you're working all the time.
follow along on Instagram: @melinadream
School is feeling a bit fractured from all the ice and cancellations, but as far as I can tell I'm doing just fine. Good enough, anyways. I'd say a little bit of my motivation dissolved on the day the nursing school application was due and I didn't apply. My mom tells me that's okay, because I was becoming obsessive over test scores and that's not the best side of me.

The morose professor continues to show up twice a week in a complete whirlwind, throwing his head on his desk and muttering, "Victim of circumstance! Victim of circumstance!" He said that the first day that he was late, when his dog got loose and had to be chased down, and apparently he liked the sound of it because now he says it all the time.

My organic chemistry professor is the sweetest woman I've ever met. She looks like she just stepped off the front of a box of pancake mix. She's always calling our class "a group of lovely, beautiful people," and she goes on sublime tangents to help us remember our functional groups. "COOH means carboxylic acid," she'll say in a deep Mississippi drawl. "I can just picture that rascal cat Sylvester dippin little Tweety Bird's feet into a bucket of acid and what does that little bird say? COOH!" And she'll pause, her eyes moist, and say, "I just love Looney Tunes."

My wedding dress arrived at the shop and I got to try it on, which was exciting. Except It didn't fit anything like the original one did. I had to hold it up, gathering big handfuls of satin as I looked at myself in the mirror, confused. "Oh honey, it's just cause you're so tiny!" Squealed the seamstress. She yanked back a few inches from waistline. "We'll just pin it here and here. And honey? Have you given a thought to some extra hi-yah in the bosom? A little push-up?"
To be honest, not since I was fourteen have I been worried about needing an extra hi-yah in the bosom. But I spun around and sang out, "I'll take it!" without a second's hesitation. After all, everyone keeps telling me it's My Big Day.

So things are going well. I bought a pink Calla Lilly and it lives on the kitchen table, growing a withering brown around the leaves. Dave acquired a mountain bike and on the random warm days that stitch together this frenetic Southern winter, we'll go out riding. "You go faster than I thought!" He said once as we caught our breath the end of a winding downhill at Bent Creek. I glowed for the rest of the week.
I came home late the other night, and David was lying on the couch, watching animals on TV and holding the sleeping dog on one arm. "What are you watching?" I asked.

"Otters," he said, and I felt something like a tidal wave of affection hit me. For him, for the napping dog. For our little house with the blue and gray kitchen that looks like an Airstream trailer and the banner of cards and letters that we use as decoration. For the dying pink Lilly and the foil corpse of the the Valentines Day Balloon he bought me, now hovering over the living room floor with its last gasp of helium.

So as for me, it's a nice time. There's plenty of anxiety; I worry about the writing fizzling out, about my shoulders not being sculpted by my wedding day. I worry about my children, who are not here yet, but who are already starving because their mom didn't go to nursing school like she should have.

All of that is to be expected.  When it comes down to the day by day, minute by minute side of life, this is a nice time. This is a good winter.
If you're local, or have lots of time on your hands, check out my recent article on Rootsrated:

Race to the Taps in Asheville
Active Valentines Activities
An interview with the man who wrote the book on Hickory Nut Gorge State Park
Six reasons to attend Bike Love
How real is reality TV? An interview with Scott McCleskey from Ultimate Survival Alaska

20 comments:

Liz Stout said...

From the paragraph about the twenty-somethings in that in-between time, to the descriptions of your professors to everything about David and otters and homes and anxiety about the future, I grinned. You write it all so accurately and so beautifully, Melina. It just makes me smile at the raw beauty of life.

Rhett said...

Another great post. Keep 'em comin'! :)

Jes said...

<3

I needed to read words that are kind to this winter and kind to the period of life so many of us seems to be in - past that sweet, innocent 20s stage, but not completely wrapped up with solid careers or families.

And, yes, that line about otters. It made my heart swell for you!

Anonymous said...

I think your shoulders will be plenty sculpted- something to cross off your worry list! ;)

Bekah said...

Haha oh the the little extra hi-yah brought back memories. I remember picking my wedding dress and the sweet attendant bringing me some creepy little chicken cutlet looking things...and I just laughed and laughed.

Haleigh said...

You feel like a dear friend. Please, keep writing and sharing your thoughts with us. They are so good and I can't wait to read your book someday :)

Melina said...

Haleigh, you guys feel like dear friends to me as well. Thank you.

Melina said...

Bekah, your description is perfect. xox

Sarah said...

I love the description of "a tidal wave of emotion" for Dave.... I get that at the most mundane times with my hubby, and its a fabulous thing. It's easy to feel the love when you're being romanced....but to feel the love because your partner took the laundry up without being asked, or is playing legos with your kids....it's a pretty awesome connection to have with someone and I'm so glad you found it!!

PS. Your little red headed babies (and yes, besides you thinking they're hungry, I've already decided they all have red hair!) - they won't starve....you're too resourceful! ;)

Melina said...

It's the best kind of tidal wave, isn't it Sarah? It's like every kind of love wrapped up in one.

Destiny said...

So very much loved this! We watch otter videos all the time with our two-year old, you are totally ready to parent a tiny human! And also, said two-year old loves to see your pup on Instagram! Cheers from the snowy-ish south.

Anonymous said...

When the leaves on your lily have died back/browned completely pull everything (dirt and all) out of the pot and stick it in the ground with southern exposure and enjoy it year after year!

Aimee LH said...

That cartoon storm cloud needs to take a hike! I see it every now and again, behind a dirty closet, under unfolded laundry. Even in my workplace hiding in the corners of my manager's eyes. But you know what. I figure we have these coke bottle-thick glasses that we mistakenly pick up sometimes that bring this cloud closer than it really is. Kind of like that side view mirror that says objects appear closer than they really are. When I'm able to slow down, even if for just a moment, I realize these glasses are on and when removed, I can take in the warm sunlight, and the clouds just fizzle out into thin air.

Elisa said...

That time after college paragraph--boy is that true!

Jill said...

For some reason, this post makes me think of the "Father Reason" poem by Rumi.
"But Father Reason says, No need to announce the future.

This now is it. Your deepest need and desire
is satisfied by this moment's energy
here in your hand."

There's so much energy in your hands, Melina. Don't worry. Your kids will be full. <3

Hyacinth said...

You have such a beautiful writing voice :) I'm so happy that you're in such a sweet stage of your life.

Marie said...

Melina, your posts are so beautiful. I have to always read them all twice just to savor the words you string together so lovingly. You are a gifted writer! I get so happy when I click on your blog link each day and find a new post! Even if there isn't one there, I still read them over and over and over.....

meg bird said...

I love how much you've been writing lately.

Jess said...

This was beautiful :) Thank you for your words!

Ann Tilley said...

It's so easy to "should" yourself into a panic attack. This year I'm working on not allowing my to-do list to overwhelm me. What does any of it matter anyways? I tell myself. Working on appreciating the now. And relaxation is important to me, I'll never get as much done as other because down-time has its priority too! See if you can cut yourself some slack next time you feel yourself getting worked up. You can do it!!