“I don’t understand why everyone acts like Florida is so special,” my son says to me cheerfully – easing the shopping cart through the aisles and every now and then slyly tapping at something in the midway.
It’s a little after 11 PM on a Saturday and even Walmart is fairly empty. I’d had these visions of getting an oil-radiant heater for our freezing little attic bedroom, and am quickly realizing they don’t have anything like that in stock. I’m tired – tired in a way my schedule, and my waking hours, don’t quite explain.
The last few days the sun and balmy skies have given way to rain – vicious, cold, angry rain. “Sidways rain – it gets up your nose!” a cashier in the grocery store cheerfully says to me, yesterday. You’d think, living here as long as I have, I’d be used to it. That my friends and neighbors, and the grocery store clerk, would be too. But we kind of hunch up, retreat; our conversation taciturn, skin roughened by the cold. Grab at hot cups of coffee and stay inside.
And then there’s the bills to pay. A stack of a few more, since my daughter’s sudden illness (she’s feeling better, by the way – responding to medications). And I’d just knocked down our medical debt to within sights of zero. And now – back up again!
I realize my son is still talking – gloriously denouncing The Sunshine State’s undeserved reputation: “… not as if it’s a land of gold and riches or something!” he finishes with a flourish.
His energy is unflagging. Until nighttime when he strips down to sleepwear and tries anything to climb in bed with us. I will miss these days when they’re gone and there is nothing I can do about that.
Last night the friend of a friend ran into trouble; her husband was chasing her around the house. Berating her. She texted a friend and the friend texted me and I did what I could. And tonight I’m wondering how many women I know have those troubles, locked up inside their hearts, in the memory of their bodies. I’m glad my home is a safe one, a pleasant one. Even if right now I’m walking about in the garish lights, asking help from retail workers with red-rimmed eyes and knowing it’s a long cold drive home with a busted heater in the car. I got a home and it’s a good one.