Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Cruelest Month

I just noticed that I have four coats hanging on my door: the down coat I long to throw out, with the ripped pocket and pulled off snaps, my rain coat, which I'll need tomorrow, a windbreaker and a nice rose corduroy jacket which is one of the few purchases outside of shoes I'll make for the foreseeable future. I need them all this week & see no point in hanging them up in a more orderly manner.

That's April. Four coats & nowhere to go.

An inch of rain is expected tomorrow. I'm still waiting for my foot to mend & waiting, mostly, for these nifty wraps made for fractured metatarsals to arrive. I've been taping my foot and it helps, but it's bulky and I have no footwear that will accommodate tape, the need for a hard sole and rain. I'm still stalling on going back to the dogs but I need to get out. The less I have to do, the less, I'm finding, I can do. This has to do with my social anxiety as much as my productivity & it hit hard this weekend after two weeks off from being out & around. Daisy & I boarded over at Mally's house. Mally is a goofy big black Lab & he has two cats, one of which is failing & needs medication & IV hydration, a skill I've now added to my resume. I also had greyhounds to go in & tend. I managed all the basics yesterday -- walks, food, pills -- then crawled back into bed by 10 & fell asleep soon after to dream those light-sleep dreams in which one visits everyone from one's past, waking at 5.

I knew I was abstinent when, after going through the same basics of walks, food, medication & a what should have been a quick stop at the grocery store (the deli people had no idea what they were doing; I could feel my foot throbbing & swelling as she twiddled around for the code on my gazpacho salad), I was walking back to Mally's scolding myself for my nervous breakdown & thought, "Tomorrow will be better" & I knew it actually would be.

Still, I lost a day of my life. My home meeting -- working on Angry Fat Girls -- spending time in the honeyed sun that promptly gave way to sweatshirt & coat weather, of which I missed more because I nearly did the same thing today. I simply couldn't handle three places to be AND work. I wanted to eat through it. My exit from that instinct was to sleep.

Sleep & read Amy Dickenson's The Mighty Queens of Freeville. I know Amy slightly; she's the daughter of a good friend from graduate school. It was a melancholy read because I haven't been back to Freeville in a very long time. I called my friend this evening, which is another miracle of not eating through my anxiety, & she asked when I was coming up that way. I think I will have to rent a car & make an Upstate Progress, like Queen Elizabeth bankrupting her counselors -- to Ithaca & Freeville, to the sanctuary where my dog Roger has gone to live, to Lake Placid to see friends from one of my past lives.

It got me thinking, The Mighty Queens did, about sisterhood. I've always found it hard to be friends with women who have more than one sister. They have each other & some door of friendship is closed because of that. My cousins are all multiple-sister families & I always felt left out to a greater or lesser extent. My closest cousin was a good friend but preferred sleeping with her sister because my feet were too cold. I look at my history of friendships & I see that most of them are with women who were the only girl or quite separated in age from another sister. I don't know that there is a winner or a loser in this divide but I know how it feels to be the unsistered. My mother got to be a pretty wavery person in my life as well so it occurs to me that I didn't have a lot of girly role models or practice. This is not a big deal. Merely the ruminations of w-a-y too much sleep, a good book, "Memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain."

It has been one of those weekends I'm glad I'm single. Who would put up with a two-day coma interrupted only by cats and dogs, a memoir & TBS romantic comedies of the lowest order? The other night I was limping home from Key Food, my eyes fast on the uneven flagstone sidewalks that are my current terror, & I overheard a child ask if "you are doing any regattas this year". I had to roll my eyes as he answered that he was going to Philadelphia the next weekend & would be out at his beach house soon after. They passed me & I was dismayed to see a curvaceous, kind of booty girl with fluffy curled blond hair walking with a bald stoutish man. She went on to ask what flowers he had in the country and he talked about lilacs & she trilled how much she loves flowers.

It was The Wasteland on a first date. I was infinitely grateful to be dragging chicken breasts and broccoli home rather than craning over a first date conversation. Daisy looked particularly charming after that bit of voyeurism.

Life is going to be more & more like that as the weather limps toward tolerable. I always seem to be on the street but in the winter not so many other people are. When I walked out that evening, I caught sight of myself in my new rose-colored corduroy coat & thought, "Whoa...When did that happen?" My romance with the scale has ended so it's just me & abstinence & I was surprised to see a much sleeker shape in the hall mirror. To see the change for myself is shocking -- I have so little idea what I look like. But it gave me the courage to pull out a better shirt than usual, a size smaller than I'd dared in a long time, & it fit, although my last pair of jeans that remain at liberty in my apartment are a ways away from that. You win some, you lose some. This weekend I decided it was a win, & dangerous emotionally when I was out of my house & away from my stuff. So I slept. Then called my old friend and finished the dogs & cats for the day & jotted this meander down, just to stay in touch.

There's plenty of Cruelest Month in here if I were to look for it. Like "Where's Waldo". Day 67 & I don't know what I weigh but I'd like it a lot if my foot healed.


laura said...

I read this post all the way through without thinking about it and by the time I got to the end I felt so relaxed...this post has a lot going on, but it's the most peaceful accepting post you've written in a long tome...or at least, that's how it strikes me.

Laura N said...

I agree with the previous Laura-- in the midst of the foot injury & disruption to your normal routine, you sound at peace. Maybe it's just a touch of peace here & there, but it's showing. & looks good on you.

Sleeker reflections are such a joy. So glad your diligence was rewarded with that.

The rain was here yesterday. It was torrential. Today the sun is shining again, at last.

April is over in 10 days... we're almost there. Here's to a healing, productive week, Frances!

Anonymous said...

Patt J:
A different spin on the "friends with sisters" thing: I have four sisters and I love them all. But I find such warmth and strength in my friendships with women my sisters have never met! It's a completely different dimension to be close to someone to whom you are not related. I love my sisters. I love my friends. Rarely do the twain meet, so to speak. Don't give up on friends with sisters. We can't help it!

Unknown said...

The friends with sisters hypothesis has gotten me thinking. Counting. Hmmm. In some ways I think I would have been better prepared for adult friendships with other women if I'd had a sister or two. (I have only one younger brother.) There is something about me that seems to signal "competitive" to women I become close to over time. I don't see myself that way at all, but I realize I need to acknowledge that others might. I never had to share my parents with a sister, and it may have spoiled me. Now, I find that my most rewarding friendships with women are mostly conducted online, even if I know the women "IRL". The distance helps. Yet it leaves me a bit lonely IRL.

Well, blah blah blah -- enough about me; thanks for bringing this up!