Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Your childhood fantasy, out of control (Response Letter 2)

When I asked you how you were doing, you really told me. And I had to respond. 

Dear us,

So you lost $450 in the parking lot the other day. The same $450 dollars that you'd dutifully tried to deposit, but the bank teller informed you that they don't take cash. (We all wonder which bank you go to, and why, and what?) That surely is a misfortune but here's what I'm thinking: maybe the person who found your money, who tripped over the envelope on the blacktop as she ran back into work, was the woman from the bridal shop. The woman who sprinted after me with the paper heart in her hand. And I don't know what her story is, but it's possible that she really needed that money, I mean really needed it. More than any of us, which is certainly hard to fathom.

That wasn't supposed to make you feel better- that's a whole lot of money to lose- but I'm just thinking that's probably what happened.

But anyway, a lot of us are feeling it lately. The snow is piling up over the doorway, not the doorstep the doorway, and we're stuck in the house with the kids and the legos, and the boss is either disorganized as hell or a sociopath, we're not sure which, but it's starting to get to us. And the other night at work everybody tried to die all at once. And if they weren't dying they were escaping from their beds and you had to either pull them back or push them down, depending.

Now, for you who recently moved into a tiny village in the interior of Alaska, let me tell you something. When my family moved up to North Pomfret Vermont, a place that won't consider you a local unless six generations of family preceded you, everybody was so mean to my mother. My kind, sweet, funny mom- they never did warm up. I can't explain it and just thinking about it makes me want to kick. Tiny villages are not always friendly, so try not to take it personally. Although I did.

But of all that, the daily suffers, just remember this: Plot Twist! The greatest advice that one of us came up with, and it wasn't me. You're not stuck, you're not disappointed, you didn't fail- there's just been a change of action that nobody quite saw coming. A real cliffhanger, and if only we were still kids reading under the quilt with a flashlight, because back then we loved a good plot twist, savored it in fact. It kept us up all night, but not in the way that it does now.

Of course, there are those things of a considerably greater magnitude. You don't always like your husband. You're contemplating divorce. The cancer has returned. Run of the mill gates of hell kind of stuff. How was it that you described how you're feeling? Frighten and frozen. An alliteration. Maybe standing in the shower screaming plot twist into a bar of soap isn't something you can really see yourself doing right now. We'll whisper it for you instead. Fix yourself a martini and we will too.

But it's not all ice and steel. Somewhere in coastal Carolina, a daughter is leaning her head on your shoulder. It doesn't matter if she's not your daughter; she's somebody's daughter and for this moment you are the haven she has chosen. You got engaged. You booked your trip to the Arctic circle to see the Northern lights. And up in Alaska, insulated under one reasonable foot of fluffy snow, you're in your new house with a baby's foot lodged in between your ribs from the inside and you've never been happier.

And speaking of- you with your second child on the way? You're going to have a lovely new baby soon, even if for now it feels like a strictly head in the toilet sort of affair. Hyperemesis gravidarum, a mouthful, but look at it this way: you'll have something to discuss with the Princess of England, should you one day run into her over a plate of cold cuts and small sandwiches.

Finally, for the people of Boston, Massachusetts, my home town. You've been hurled into some futuristic snowscape, something that feels like your greatest childhood fantasy overblown and out of control. Something Russian. Just remember, you won't always be a mouse tunneling through the streets. I know it feels impossible, but in a few short months that whole place will explode into nice green grass. Until then, maybe a book and a bath.

Love,
Melina, and everybody else

PS. I'm sorry your plane didn't take off and you couldn't go back home. They told you the plane had 'weight and balance issues'?

Don't we all?
join us on Instagram @melinadream

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Man I want to share a gin and tonic (or craft beer) with you on a snowy evening and talk until morning!!

Suzie said...

This is just beautiful, it makes me feel like I've a circle of friends around the world, thinking of each other and willing us on through the dark days of winter. I wish I had your gift for words but instead I will just enjoy reading every one. Thank you Melinda!

Sarah said...

I'm gonna take those words as a much needed hug after unpacking my office in our new school all day, and I am going to lay on the couch and sleep for a little while! Xoxo!

Karen said...

WHOEVER IS OUT THERE WHO MAKES BOOKS I DONT KNOW HOW IT ALL WORKS BUT please, please, please pay Melina Coogan the money she deserves to write one so that I can turn the pages slowly and go back and read them again and fall asleep with the weight of the pages and the stories and the words right over my ribcage. WE WILL PAY REAL MONEY FOR HER REAL BOOK. Bonus if her real photographs are in there too. Thanks. :)))

ashevillemom said...

Just lovely. I've had the flu this week. My whole family has had it or still has it. School is closed again tomorrow. It's too cold to go skiing. So we will play board games and enjoy the Winter before my daughter turns 6 in Spring.

Aimee LH said...

Thank you again, for a much needed post. You are a therapist of the heart. Cheers.

Erin Macauley said...

Motion seconded! And thirded. All in favor?

Jess said...

YES. This is so good. This is exactly what I needed to read after 7 days (and 70 hours) of work in a row. I am forcing myself to take the "book and a bath" advice to heart tomorrow. Thank you for your words--they are lovely, as are you!

- Mariel - said...

All in favor, Erin! And Suzie -- I love how you phrased this feeling, this communal encouragement to hang in there.

Melina, I love this format. Your turns of phrase shine. So glad to tune in here every week and see what's waiting.

Rachel said...

Damn it, Melina, you're good. Your writing makes me think we would be the best of friends. This life season right now is indeed one giant plot twist and I'm trying, trying to hold that flashlight tight and hold my breath in anticipation of what comes next because the unknown is terrifying, but exciting too. Oh, yes, your writing slays me.

Whitney said...

I didn't comment on the last post, but I (the lost mother of three) just wanted to say thanks. It's a bit of a weight off the shoulders to know that someone out there in the universe has seen me.

Rhett said...

Aye!

Rhett said...

Yes, yes, yes to all of this. You beautiful writing and all the great comments. Your posts do indeed make me feel like there are so many friends out there supporting me even though we've never met. Thank you for connecting us all, Melina.

Jess B said...

I've never seen a writer pull in a circle quite like this. It's very kumbaya but in a good, validating way... like "Kumbaya now give me that whiskey because life's hard but we're good." You are rad, lady.

Anonymous said...

There's a woman in CA who needed to leave her husband. She couldn't because there wasn't enough money to actually make the move; No money for a truck and boxes and tape etc. She went to SANON and ALANON, and she prayed, she did individual therapy and she got stronger but still, the money was still the reason she couldn't get out. After lunch with a friend, the woman found $450 cash in the parking lot. That woman spent the money on the move and now she is free.

This happened a year and a half ago so I'm sure it's not the same $450 but damn, that money Changed someone's life, changed with a big C!

Schafergal said...

I've been reading for several years but just never commented - until now. But I have to say, these posts are spectacular. Thank you for all the beauty.