Thanks this week to Sarah, for chocolate.
It snowed here. Just the tiniest bit. I'm jealous of my mother up in Boston because I love snow storms, the big ones, they turn regular cities full of regular people into cities filled with hyper children. I think about dad in the drafty house in Vermont, alone during the week when my mother's at work. I picture him down in the kitchen, making his tea and squinting out the window as fat white flakes swallow the road. He might consider the view for a few moments, VPR classical on the radio, before slumping back up the stairs to his office, hoisting up his pants with one hand so he doesn't step on the cuffs, the tea cup rattling in the saucer. He'll be stuck for a few days.
Here in Asheville we only got a little, a dusting we'd call it back home, but down south it was enough to let the kids out of school early, enough to make the bread vanish off of the shelves.
My photographer friend wanted to shoot bikes in the snow, and the great jaws of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Chem 132 Organic and Biochemistry Laboratory had just released me with a few hours to spare. We went over to Richmond Hill and rode through a forest that looked just like a backdrop for the Royal Ballet.
|Derek DiLuzio Photography|
The routine that is school (still), me and grinning Billy and the rest of the class memorizing tables of hydronium ion concentrations and streaking E.coli across petri dishes. I have a morose and chaotically unorganized professor, one who likes to talk about famous molecular biologists in history having sex with each other. "Doing it," he calls it. He'll pull up an illustration of a cloaked man peering into a microscope and say, "Look at that guy. He just can't wait to get to a dinner party with some other scientists and then they're all going to do it." Then he'll pause for a moment, finding enormous enjoyment in the idea, if enjoyment is really the right word, while the whole class sits in silence and looks at him, expectantly.
That professor has been late to every class except one, when he didn't show up at all. A terrible car accident on I-26 caused a horrific back up that he was stuck in it, him and the rest of the school. Almost nobody made it to class that day, including me, although I had a different reason. I was shuttling around my uncle who lives in Caracas and plays Oboe in the Venezuelan National Orchestra. My uncle was in town because he's on a US tour with the Mexican National Orchestra (he's moonlighting) and one day after a particularly frustrating performance, he pulled off his bow tie with such force that it ripped in half, so I had to take him to buy another. A white bow tie.
I wasn't caught in the traffic jam but I did see it from an overpass; a long snake of cars, unmoving, and a little squad of policemen zipping around shaking flags at them, even though they had no where to go. A friend of mine said he witnessed the accident. He said a flatbed truck did a couple of flips and then the driver flew out of the window and his guts 'sort of flopped out' onto the road.
That's the thing, that shit can happen. And we just plod along as if it can't. But if I think about that too much then I'll be up all night with my stomach clenched in on itself like a prune. That actually happened to me the other night. I kept watching those little ASMR videos of a girl melting soap and sorting legos, but they didn't do the trick. I couldn't fall asleep, nor could I get my stomach to release, so when morning finally came I just sat up, the way vampires sit straight up in their coffins. Time to start another day even though I never ended the last one.
Which leads me to our next decision, an obvious one, to get married this summer and not the next. Two weeks ago David and I sat on the porch, I made mimosas, and we had this long and very adult conversation about not rushing things, and using the next year and half to Celebrate and Self Reflect, and we felt very smug and satisfied with how mature we were. Until the next day when we both realized we wanted to get married and we wanted to have a party as soon as possible and to hell with the rest.
There was an opening for one weekend at a little Vermont inn and we snatched it up. So now while grinning Billy is dutifully jotting down the Seven Strong Acids and flashing me his brilliant metal smile every few minutes, I'm scribbling little notes like Steak or Chicken? and striking up deals with God in my head, you know the type, Hey, if you can just keep everyone alive and safe, forever, but especially until after my wedding, I promise I'll turn into that type of person who traps spiders in cups and brings them outside. I feel like it should mean more from me, being an atheist. I don't pray often, mostly airplanes and family events, so when I do it should count.
Flowers- Colleen? I write in the margin of my notebook. Cake- no matter. Boxed? And then I pause, and scribble down: Call mom. Remind her to wear seatbelt. At least, when a city is buried in snow, nobody is on the roads. Still- and I'm thinking about the eviscerated man and how he backed up traffic for miles- still, it's worth a call.
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