I really want to write something right now but I think I may be getting sick. My throat is scratchy and I’m feeling so tired. No matter that I got up at 5:45am because the cat was crying loudly again at the foot of my bed.
She’s old, pushing 18, and it’s like every morning she’s announcing, “I’m still here!” I’d like to toss her across the room and throw her the hell over there, but instead I get up with a heavy sigh and pad downstairs alongside her. We are both a little slower and more creaky than we were just a few years ago.
I give her fresh food as she twists through my legs. This used to be no big deal, but now half the time I almost trip on her. My cat’s cat reflexes have also gone to the dogs and she is no longer adept at darting out of my way. We are two clumsy old broads.
My throat really is sore and I grab a piece of cantaloupe from the fridge, hoping the juiciness will soothe it. It does for an eighth of a second and then I’m back where I started, but now I’m thinking I need some Advil. I know it’s bad to take on an empty stomach but it’s barely 6am and I can’t think of putting anything in there except my coffee, irritating or fruit, acidic.
I take another piece of cantaloupe, sip my coffee and consider it all while I rest my head on my desk instead of typing brilliant, entertaining prose like I’m supposed to be.
When I pick my head up it is 7am and my middle son is looming over me. He wants a morning hug, pancakes and to know whether he needs to wear his blue or white shirt for his baseball game later.
I check the calendar and confirm that it is in fact a blue day and then realize the date. July 10th. And now I feel a little sicker. It is my grandmother’s birthday. She died two and a half years ago and would have been 93.
I know she’s hovering around, watching me, tsking when she sees my boys running outside without shoes, invisibly rubbing my hand in that circular comforting way that she had when I’m on the phone with my father, wishing she could send over some lobster Cantonese, fried rice and an egg roll because right now I know she wants to fatten me up.
She took such joy in life and in the challenge of life. She was a lawyer without a license, a psychologist without a degree. A lover of babies, a card shark, a chicken soup maker, a shoe thrower, a piece of work, a force to reckon with, a giver of jewels, words of wisdom and tough love; a matriarch, a mother, a grandmother and a great grandmother.
From her first “Helloooeee” to her last “I love you more” and every affectionate “You rotten bitch” in between she captivated you with her commanding tone and raspy voice.
I wish I could do her justice but no one could.
I still hear her and think of her and wish she was here with me to enjoy my boys and tell me in person everything I’m doing wrong and how exactly I should be doing it. We would laugh over a bagel and lox, a good cup of coffee and lick our lips before we dove into our bowls of chocolate ice cream. We would talk for hours, but mostly I would listen, because she was a fascinating woman who led a fascinating life.
It’s July 10th and it’s a blue day. My throat hurts and now so does my heart.