Don’t Just Pretend

 

We left the yard just at sunrise, and as we walked, I remembered sunrise services I’d been too long ago.

Some were quiet some were boisterous, but they were in my mind some of the most real services of that kind I ever attended.

It was Easter, but there would be no gathering for me. “That’s alright.” I told Campbell as he sniffed along. “We’ll have our own celebration. Just you wait. You’ll see. Mommy will think of something.”

But, as I walked alongside him my heart wasn’t in the walk, wasn’t into a celebration, in fact, was into nothing. I was numb.

“Best way to be.” I decided. “Numb means you can’t feel, and if you can’t feel, you can’t hurt and today, that was just fine.

Continuing along our way I was starting to allow myself to enjoy Campbell’s happiness, but suddenly up ahead I heard a dog barking and it didn’t sound all that friendly, as it began to wind up into a fury, I gathered Campbell’s leash into my hand, and heeling him close beside me continued slowly toward the noise.

Drawing closer still, I heard another dog join in the barking. “Is it in the same yard, or where?” I softly asked myself.

Then there was the angry one, right beside me and Campbell was trying to pull free.

“No! Bubba! No! PFUI! Leave that, get on now, you stop it! Heel!”

He came reluctantly but obedient back to my side. I slowed further, hearing someone yelling to the dogs from the porch. There was another somewhere, but I couldn’t say where. I stopped thinking the person would come down and call it off, but they never moved from the door, and after trying to go passed twice more and not being successful, I turned us back.

Campbell grumbled at the dog, looking over his shoulder as he did so, and as we started back the way we’d come, Campbell’s disappointment was palpable and catching. Suddenly my numbness was gone.

“Damn it!” I observed angrily. “Just a walk. That’s all the hell I wanted this Easter morning. Just a damned walk! Is that too much to ask? Damn stupid hateful dog! Why the hell couldn’t that person come down and hold their stupid dog back from the edge of the walk, and why the hell do they have the chain all the way out to the edge any damn way?”

Suddenly I was so hurt and furious I wanted to turn around, go back there, march right up to the stupid angry mutt and scream, “Get your ass away! Just you get the hell back and let us pass!” And, dare the stupid person to come down there.

All I’d wanted was to walk up to the corner by Eastman Rd. I’d even thought we might feel up to turning the corner and going a bit further.

“Damn stupid dog and its rude owner. Couldn’t even tell if it was man or woman.”

By the time we reached our gate, Campbell was happily sniffing again. I’d only brought him back to me once when we’d gone in front of the gnarled up bitty’s house because I was so upset that had I run into her I’d have probably simply lost it and only Goddess knows what I might have said to her.

I slowed in front of the house, but Campbell had different ideas. He’d been deprived of his long walk, and he was darned and determined to have at least part of it.

As we went on down toward the park end of the street I relaxed. The people on this end of the street seemed a bit friendlier than the ones going the other direction and I hoped maybe he could sniff in peace without any more fuss.

He’d already emptied. I’d made sure of it by walking him twice round our yard before taking him off the property. I didn’t have any more bags and hadn’t yet talked to the produce guy at Food City about getting a roll of bags. I normally used grocery bags for picking up but it was hard to keep them because I just didn’t buy enough stuff.

“Something else for me to consider if I’m to get another dog. If I cannot keep a steady supply of bags I may as well forget it. I cannot possibly have two dogs if I cannot pick up after them. That’s just too damned nasty.”

It already bothered me that I sometimes couldn’t pick up after Campbell in the yard, and I took him all the way back to the very edge of the alley as much as possible to allow him to relieve himself, or had him go in the corner of the yard by the fence, and most times it wasn’t a problem, but two dogs would be a problem. It would cause bugs and it would be a problem when I wanted to walk them together once they got used to one another.

Turning to go back to the house I had to take deep breaths to keep the tears from falling. I felt the most worthless I’d ever felt in my life.

“If you cannot even keep poop bags, what the hell are you thinking considering another dog? What the hell is wrong with you anyhow?”

But really it wasn’t the lack of bags that bothered me this morning. It bothered me that I was so unworthy of this holiday. Though I celebrate and believe just a bit differently I do still observe it and here I was alone. If I were worthy, I wouldn’t be alone. I would be with friends, family, or something. At the very least Mother Father God would’ve allowed me to have enough money to go out. I couldn’t even get a cab and slip into the back of a church somewhere to hear pretty music and a message.

Once back at the house, I went into the bathroom to gather myself. Of late it did seem to bother Campbell quite a lot for me to get upset and it was time for our morning hangout, and I was not going to ruin it.

Finally, I got a handle on things and put the upset feelings back into their box and firmly slammed the lid.

“Enough of that.” I declared sternly. “Campbell is waiting, and he loves you just as you are.”

After I’d hung out with him in his room, I settled down to read more email. It seemed I had mountains of it and that I’d never get it all read. Suddenly I remembered I’d not checked my text messages, and though it was early, and I didn’t expect any I decided I’d check anyhow.

“Hey! Siri! Read messages.” I was surprised when the thing told me, “You have a new message from Bobby” and then read his happy Easter greeting to me.

I texted back, and made sure not to allow my earlier sadness to trickle in. I absolutely did not want to drag another person into my gloom. It was unfair. He was going to work, would see his coworker and friend, and might even go somewhere after. So, the last thing I wanted to do was to drag him down.

Finally, I had all the mail sorted and was ready to tackle some of my folders. I went through the spam folder first, and though it was only a few I did find some important things that had somehow made their way in.

Once I’d dealt with all the mail, I was ready for something to eat, and so headed into the kitchen to see what I might have.

I decided on serial and fruit. I had some dried figs, which were lightly coated with sugar, and some frozen blueberries, and I loved putting them into my serial.

The figs would plump up after just a moment in the milk, and as the blueberries thawed, they would share their flavor with the milk.

I poured everything together and splashed milk from the little carton left from a previous meals on wheels meal which I’d taken out of the freezer the night before, so I’d have it ready for this morning.

I’d started freezing them because most times due to my sudden issue with drinking milk I’d been buying soy milk instead, but I was out of it and knew if I went easy, I wouldn’t have a problem.

While I waited for the berries to thaw a bit and the figs to plump, I had an idea. I took the bag of frozen berries and went out onto the back deck and tossing hands full over the rail scattered them for the birds. Hearing Campbell come to the door I’d shut behind me I decided to make a treat for him and tossed a few onto the steps for him to find when we passed. He could snuff and eat them up and feel like he was getting away with something.

I smiled as I thought of how he’d love it. “Have to do something. I did tell him we’d celebrate after all.”

Later as I sat eating in the quiet of the house, I heard the birds calling happily to one another in the backyard and hoped they were eating them.

“Oh well if they do not, Bubba can hunt blueberries instead of Easter eggs.” I laughed at the thought of his nose going absolutely ape shit for those berries in the grass, and that somehow eased my sadness back to a more tolerable level.

Later as we took our mid-day walk around the yard staying close so as not to miss our meal from our meals on wheels Sunday delivery, I purposefully encouraged Campbell close to the back-deck steps. He immediately spied the berries and tugged me toward them, and I halfheartedly tried to stop him, and then pretended to turn to listen to something behind me letting him first sniff, and then creep forward to eat them up off the steps.

As he finished and I heard him start to lick the wood, I turned and said in mock sternness, “Bubba! What are you doing? Here, now! Are you eating the bird’s berries? For Shame!”

As if on cue a group of birds began chattering excitedly in the trees behind us in the neighbor’s yard, and for a moment they were so excited I got a tad worried.

“Hey! You Birds! If you want those in the yard, you’d best come eat them, cause next time I bring him round here if you’ve not I’m letting him have them.”

Campbell seeming to understand, puffed mightily through his nose as if to say, “Yeah, eat them or do without. You stupid birds.”

Laughing I took us back inside, and once again my boy had helped me through the morning when I’d thought I just might not make it. Later when my meal was delivered, I got another little surprise.

“Good morning Patty.” The volunteer exclaimed as I opened the door to accept the food. “Happy Easter. How are you today.”

For just a moment I felt a lump in my throat from my earlier tears and swallowing hard and smiling with some effort I said, “Oh, we’re fine. How are you on this Easter day?”

“Oh, I’m doing well. Just came from church.”

“Crowded today?” I asked, taking the to-go box from him.

“The usual Easter bunches.”

He answered, as he reached down for something.

“We brought a flower. It’s an Easter Lilli.”

“Oh! Those always smell so nice.” I said, as I inhaled the fragrant bloom. “Hmmm. That is nice. Thanks. That does brighten my day. I wonder?” I thought out loud. “Can these be planted outside?”

“We plant them outside.” He reflected.

“Do they need lots of sun? or? I mean where do you plant yours?” I asked.

“Oh, we plant them on the north side of the house, so they don’t get too much sun.”

“Oh, OK. I’m going to see if my landscape guy will plant mine out by the back-deck steps. Surely it would be alright there. It wouldn’t get too much sun there, part of that is shaded in the afternoon. Might just work. I hate keeping them in the house. They always die.”

“They do like to be out.” He agreed.

“Yeah. I’ve got a piece Lilli and she does well inside, but this, well, it needs to be out, I think. Wish I had a picture.”

After he’d gone and I’d enjoyed my food, I thought about trying to take a picture of it but my hands shook so these days that I just decided against it and rather than frustrate myself with trying to take one and not being sure it had come out, I decided that if I could get it planted I’d have someone take a pic then.

“It’s enough just to enjoy it.” I decided as I adjusted it onto the entertainment center beside Sammy my Peace Lilli.

“OK. Sammy, here’s someone for you to talk to. I’d love to keep Lilith inside with you, but well, she won’t make it if I try that, so you two can visit until I get Human Clay to plant her in the yard.”

“People would think me quite nuts if they knew I went round chattering to my plants and Campbell like I do but I just didn’t give a hot shit what people thought anymore.

“Obviously don’t matter how I live or what I do. No matter how hard I work toward making myself into a better person, doing all the things Polly and all the rest of them asked of me, I’m still here by myself. So, to hell with people and what they think.” I demanded as I sat about straightening things for the afternoon.

Now, as I sit here writing this to you, I hear folks out and about across the street, and down the way a bit. I suppose they’re having Easter dinner and doing all the stuff families do. I thought once about walking up to the park. Sometimes folks gather there for egg hunts, but it’s pretty wet from the rain, and besides no one likes a party crasher. Public park or no, someone would surely talk to Campbell and I’d end up talking to them and somehow or another I’d say or do something stupid which would only serve to embarrass me and make them uncomfortable. Nope, as dad used to say, “Best just stay in your place.”

Well, enough! It’s not such a bad day. Campbell got a good walk, and got to hunt and find blueberries, I had a great lunch, I’m sheltered, and I’ve got my books, and my work, and lots of people don’t have that.

So, for now I’m going to go and work on my manuscript some. Haven’t had a moment to do a thing with it for a while now.

I wish all yawl a happy day and if you’re celebrating today, make sure you do it for the right reason, don’t just pretend.

Until next time, may harmony find you and blessid be.

 

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