As she awakened from her afternoon nap, she could see the glow of the lit-up dial of the alarm clock even through her closed eyelids. Everything on her body was thinning out. Her hair hung so limply that all she could do was to push it behind her ears and smooth it back from where it formed fuzzy little swirls on her forehead. Her arms sprouted an archipelago of purplish dry torn bruises—new ones every time she knocked up against a door frame or pruned the thunbergia vines. No one ever mentioned these bruises, although her children were perceptive and must have noticed them on those occasions when they stopped by on their way home from work to bring her groceries or to open the damper in the chimney and check that the gas lines had not clogged up over the summer.
Today it was her son who rang her doorbell to check up on her and accept a fast cup of coffee. It was going to be a cold winter, he lectured, so she needed a fire. Did she want him to light it for her? No, she wasn’t cold, but she would do it herself later, she insisted. For the hundredth time, he lectured her on being careful to make sure the pilot was working every time, then feigned interest in what sparse news she had to impart. She feared her subscription to life had expired along with most of her friends. What new did she have to say about this week’s installment of Mrs. Maisel or even the weather, now that it had turned gray and unchangeable––much like her life?
After ten minutes, he was off to children and wife and supper, and she was glad for this. She kissed him good-bye. A good boy. She had been fortunate in her life. She moved over to the fireplace. It was cold already, she thought, as she bent over to close the damper and blow out the standing pilot light on the fireplace, then turned on the gas.
That crepey neck. I’m going to look like my Grandmother. But I refuse to wear blue tennis shoes like her, and when my jewelry starts turning black, I’ll stop wearing it. I won’t use straight pins for buttons or rat my hair and roll it in a bun. I won’t save Cracker Jack prizes in canning jars
or give all my money to the Seventh day Adventists. I will not save food in my purse to take home from family dinners, and I won’t let so many cats sleep in the henhouse.
The Lake Chapala, Mexico area where this apartment building has been going up for over a year is home to the largest group of American and Canadian expats in the world—most of them over 60 years old. That taken into account, I don’t think its sign sends the correct message to their targeted renters. I’m sure the name “Last Apartments” is a rather unfortunate translation of “UltimosDepartamentos,” and for the superstitious, it is definitely not a great selling point. (Most probably, their intention was to convey that they will be the latest or best in design, but the translation from Spanish to English leaves the impression that no renter will be leaving the premises alive!)
Please post your own example of unfortunate signage on your blog, pingback to this page and use the tag “Unfortunate Signage.”
Everything exhausts me. I’ve lost my zip and moxie, so I’m surrendering control and giving you my proxy. You can handle matters––earthshaking or mundane. Having to make up my mind has grown to be a pain. Today began my countdown for withdrawing from my life. I’m hiding from decisions, the news and other strife, compressing the world’s problems into a tiny ball and hiding it someplace obscure that I will not recall. I’ll binge-watch old TV shows like Dynasty and Friends from their initial episodes right up to their ends. I’m sleeping in ‘til ten o’clock, going to sleep at eight, throwing away my calendar. I need not know the date. Here are my credit cards and checkbook. Do with them what you will. Run away to the Bahamas or pay my water bill.
I’m relying on your character and inborn need to please. If you don’t pay the light bill, I guess that I’ll just freeze. Please don’t report your payments. Don’t bother me at all. Do not text or Facebook. Don’t tweet or Skype or call. From here on in my life, as planned, is going to be a breeze. No cooking or dish-washing. I’ll eat takeout Chinese for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ll just do what I please–– I’ll rock for hours in rockers, my cat upon my knees. I’ll have no need for intercourse. I’m cancelling the phone. I’ll fill my life with pastimes that I can do alone: Sudoku and Solitaire, crosswords and jigsaw puzzles–– no lady friends, no social sites. No kisses and no nuzzles. Type two Agoraphobia is what they’ll say I’m suffering. But only you and I will know that I am simply buffering.
I’ve been without phone and internet for two days.I’m posting this at a local restaurant.
If I’m not mistaken, you are caught there in your bubble in your torn old housecoat with your legs covered in stubble. Your pupils are dilated and your eyes are blank and glassy. The air in this closed room has turned stale and dank and gassy.
I’m going to turn the light on now. You’ve been here in the dark too long, so I am taking you outside to the park.
You’ve mourned enough. It’s time that you returned to the living. It’s true years take away, but it’s also true they’re giving.
We’ll buy pistachio ice cream, feed your favorite duck and talk about how fortunate we are to have such luck
to be alive and free and here in this glorious place with ice cream in our tummies and sunlight on our face.
Go and take a shower and put on your best duds. Wipe away your dolor with water and with suds.
Blow dry your hair until it looks casual and sporty. I think that even you can survive this turning forty!!