My family and I went for a walk the day after my grandma died. I had bought tights at this place on Fifth in Brooklyn, and I put them on for the walk. As we walked, on this footpath through trees in a corridor of the suburbs, my legs started to itch and itch and itch, I wanted to rip my skin off, instead I pulled them down so they were only on my calves, and I walked a little penguin-like, it was just my family, the dog, one or three other walkers who probably didn’t notice. The woods were half frozen, half thawed, Indian Creek half frozen, half thawed.
Today I went to a retreat at church, and I dressed for spring, corduroy skirt, boots, no tights, warm shirt but no sweater. I sat for the first two hours and froze. It’s still winter. At our break, I took my umbrella to the same place I bought those itchy grey tights and bought some white tights. There was no tag with the fabric content, they didn’t feel like wool. I was back in my pew, I chose one that had a big, deep butt print in it already, our pews seem never to have been restuffed with whatever they are stuffed with, and the church is from 1852. I realized my legs were itching again. The tights were white, but they were the same pattern as the itchy grey ones, weren’t they? I had done the same thing.
Of the things that surprise me about getting older, making the exact same mistake is a big one. I have more in my brain now, I forget stuff, I do the same dumb thing twice, three times. It’s kind of amazing.
The apartment next to us is empty now. The family had to leave. It wasn’t good. We have some of their glassware. They left glasses that say Jameson on them. At 9:15, the guys renovating the apartment fired up their hammers, electric saws, jackhammers, and jet engine. “Oh, my God,” I said. “Is this a thing?” They put on some music to inspire them, too, and the music had to be pretty loud to be heard over their jet engine.
On our walk we had talked about who would be at the funeral, and when, 90% of the work of a big family is trying to figure out who is where, and who will be where, when. Once you get that settled, there is basically no time left for whatever else you wanted to freak out about.
When I was home to visit, I stayed up til midnight, like I like to, and slept most of the morning, and frequently someone calls me (on the phone or in the house) and says, “Come on,” and I have to jump out of bed and go somewhere right away. Go have lunch with Dad. Go on this walk. Sometimes it is me who makes me jump out of bed, to make noon mass and writing time before other people take my day.
Everyone is ungrateful, sure they are.
I bought a fish this week, and the guy just scanned the top of the fish’s tupperware container, like the fish was just a thing, not my fish.
I lit a candle at the Mary altar, my grandmother was Mary, Mary is wrapped in purple cloth for Lent right now, so you can’t see her. There was a great beam of light on Mary wrapped today, though, as the priest pointed out.
The priest said no one knows what happens after you die, maybe terrible people go to a great place, who knows? I liked that.
A friend posted an article about how this owl didn’t like people, and how that was thought to mean the owl was messed up, and I agreed with him, what I like about animals is that they don’t necessarily like us, they might, they could, but who likes what is so easily won?