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Wednesday, November 24, 2010
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.
© cj Schlottman