Wednesday, June 1, 2016


I sat on the stoop of the first house I ever owned. I had been cleaning to get it ready to sell. I was quiet, after much lifting and sweating and moving things from the basement that have been there for five years, and probably more than that. I bleached baseboards, and washed memories of dog from the front door. I was on my own, as the man with whom I shared that house, and that family with, has moved on and on and on.

I remember writing a post one time years ago about his having had the last beer, and leaving me on my own with my afternoon frustrations with the kids and the life. I remember the nights of not-knowing when he'd get home, the weeks of his overnight shifts, the pressure he felt at the steepness of his learning curve on the new job.

I remember the fire between the two houses and being woken, irritated, and then seeing a fireman in my bedroom and carrying the infant outside in a blanket. I remember my neighbors, I remember an everlasting battle with the bamboo, and I remember the awesome glory of the cherry tree in bloom. The whole kitchen was bathed in pink.

I remember losing my hearing entirely. I remember thinking of suicide. I remember telling him to get a new wife. I slept with my hand on my infant's chest to be ready to wake and nurse. I remember the kids in the neighborhood being a needy bunch, no socks in the whole lot, and turning them away when they showed up with a toddler. I remember his parents sleeping over often enough that the pull-out bed was named for them. I remember crying while watching a narnia movie on Christmas Eve...I remember rocking my children to sleep and trying all crazed tries to get them to go to bed on their own. They still, now three, all sleep with me in my bed. The bed time routine involves piling up, books, and stories told in the night... I remember the boys first experiences with snow, with rope swings, with log piles. The dog who died before the move, Roxanne. I remember it all. all of it, not just the pretty.

As I drove away, I thought first of him, and his new life, free of memory, and then I thought of me, and raised my fist, ala john bender, and thought... my past is on fire, aflame, and I am driving off.  Let it burn, beauty and all.

Let it burn.


Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

Oh Kate. This made me tear up. I remember sitting on the floor with you admiring your first redheaded baby. I remember art supplies on the dining room table so Aand C could paint long before my littles were in the picture. (By God! She lets them PAINT! In the house!!!! Amazing woman.) I remember the awesome wallpaper upstairs and your home improvement job in the bathroom. More than anything, I am reminded of how we became friends with those visits in that house and how happy I am for that. Xoxo

MotherOfGooses said...

not easy to write or do. big gulp.xo

theresa said...

This is beautiful.