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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cupcakes

11/24/10

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. It is 1:00 PM, and she has not yet brushed her teeth or changed from her pajamas, having spent the morning reading and responding to blog posts, then crawling back into bed with her dogs to watch recorded TV shows. She has errands but they can wait. How long can she put off dressing and going out of the house to fetch the cupcakes she ordered for Thanksgiving at the farm? The shop doesn’t close until 7 PM. She has time.

She is sad. She takes her mug of green tea and walks onto the deck, shooshing her ratty old Uggs through wet leaves fallen there. She sits under the canvas gazebo, sips tea, lights a cigarette, looks around at the gloom and light rain.

The tears begin, silent at first, followed by sobs. She bends her chest over her legs and muffles the sound, shaking with despondency, wishing she could scream but afraid of alarming the dogs and the neighbors. She aches with melancholy; she is heartbroken.

Why? She asks herself why she is doomed to be so sad some days. Thanksgiving? Yes, her second without her husband is worse than the first. Last year, she was still numb and in shock. This year, she can feel it all, the loneliness, the emptiness, the heartache of his loss.

But it is more than Thanksgiving. These days happen to her, not so much as before, but they still suck her down into dolefulness, paralyze her into inertia when she least expects it. She takes her drugs and mostly they help, but today she feels herself moving in slow motion, riddled with anxiety, feet stuck to the floor. What is it that she needs to do? Oh, yes, the cupcakes.

She dries her face on the sleeve of her jacket and shuffles back into the house, ignoring the rain, and stands at the kitchen sink, meaning to clean up the dishes stacked there, but she only stares out the window and hurts in every fiber of her being. Slowly, she begins to carelessly load the dishwasher. That slow motion thing again. Her tea grows cold as she labors over such a small task, seemingly insurmountable. The dishwasher is finally running, and she goes back to bed.

Later, after trying and failing to sleep, she once more hauls herself out of bed and begins to dress. She pulls on her scrubs, so like pajamas, brushes her teeth and peers into the mirror at her wretched reflection. A women stares back from hollow eyes. She tries to smile but instead weeps once more, bending over the sink and sobbing loudly.

She lifts her head and scans the bathroom counter with disinterest. It is scattered with cosmetics, a razor, the sunscreen she used yesterday when she walked the dogs, wrinkle cream and leave-in conditioner and two pairs of glasses. There is eyeglass cleaner, hair clips, a bottle of Aleve and one of Ativan. There is the canister of toothpaste, uncapped. In the other sink sits a bag of toiletries purchased yesterday at Wal-Mart. She makes no attempt to create order.

No makeup. Just a perfunctory pass at her hair. What is it that she needs to do? Oh, yes, the cupcakes.

She loads the dogs into the back seat and creeps along the street, out of the neighborhood, past the liquor store, Mama Lowe’s Home Cooking and where they are building the new Burger King. Only one left turn without a light. She glides her late husband’s 1997 Lincoln Continental into a parking space in front of Hello There, Cupcake, flashing smiles at the young women whose new business is clearly thriving. She decides to buy an extra cupcake to eat later and makes a fuss over all the varieties, finally deciding on one called Cinnimon Bun for herself. She departs, cheerfully wishing everyone “Happy Thanksgiving.”

At home, she makes coffee and puts the cupcake on a pretty plate. And looks at it. And looks at it some more. Then she throws it into the trash.


Author’s Note: So, it’s out there. Yes, this was written by the same author only three days after “Sunrise on the Hampton River.” If you suffer from depression, you know that it happens. If you think you are depressed, please get some help.

(Happy Thanksgiving).



© cj Schlottman

11 comments:

Linda @ A La Carte said...

You recognize the depression and that is a start. Holidays are so hard...there are many types of loss and it seems like they hit us hardest at these times. Hang in there. I hope tomorrow is a better day!

injaynesworld said...

This is in no way an attempt to make light of your very real sadness, but I have to tell that the thing that hit me hardest about this post was that you threw the cupcake out. I'm sorry. Clearly, I'm a very disturbed individual.

Seriously though, I am virtually engulfing you in my arms and sending you a big, big hug.

Think of the sunrise. xoxo

KeLLy aNN said...

I understand that grief.
I hate that grief, the one that keeps showing up like an unwanted relative and leaving crumbs for you to clean up.

If it will make you feel better, I'll let you wear my Wayfarers while you're driving your hot rod Lincoln!
{I LoVe that song!}

injaynesworld said...

More thoughts. I think the thing that disturbed me about you throwing out the cupcake is that when you bought it I felt a hopeful moment in your story and then it was dashed.

Please go buy another cupcake and savor every morsel because you deserve that pleasure.

Hope you're having a lovely Thanksgiving day.

kate said...

your words are really something special.

i hope by writing this kind of stuff, you can, even in some small way, feel relieved of pain.

i also hope you found plenty to be thankful for.

xx

Hope Despite Depression said...

Oh CJ -

After reading this post I wished I was able to give you a big hug. I have felt that numbness and aching many times... moreso after losing a loved one... but I can not imagine the pain from losing the love of your life. I know nothing compares to that pain (at least in my opinion). A dear family friend who lost her husband, leaving her alone with her two small boys (it was the second marriage for both - so she had these boys later in life). For a long time it was difficult for her... she forced herself to go on... my heart ached for her... and I can say that today she is doing so much better. The pain will always be there and you'll never forget your husband, but I do believe living will get easier... I have seen it in my dear friend.

I hope in telling you this you don't feel as though I'm minimizing your pain - because that's the LAST thing I'm doing - My intention is to let you know that I've seen the pain losing a spouse so early can cause - and then over time how life gets more "manageable"... Your husband is always by your side - without a doubt. He's helping you through your pain ...

You expressed yourself your feelings of depression... the grief and pain, the feeling of numbness - so clearly - I could feel your pain and could relate to a certain level...

It was so raw and real - so open and honest - I admire your strength to write about what you're going through because it helps others and it gives comfort knowing they are not alone.

Hang in there - you are stronger than you think...

((HUGS))
Christine

Hope Despite Depression said...

P.S. Have you ever thought about writing a memoir or something? You are a beautiful writer...

Katie Gates said...

I am sorry for your depression, c.j., but this was SO beautifully written. I am glad you have many ways to confront the sadness and that you can write about it so eloquently. This truly was a beautiful post. My thoughts are with you.

ayala said...

This is a beautiful post! So sorry for your loss!

Viki said...

I hope your doing better. Just hang in there.

faith said...

Well, life CAN be depressing! It's a normal part of life and it's okay to not always be happy and bright and cheerful. May these down days grow fewer and fewer as time passes.

Please do go back and get that cupcake and or maybe 2 and invite someone to share it with you!

Here's to a new year full of adventure and days filled with love and laughter!