“I have to blog,” I just told my mother. Not that I have a blog.
When I’m visiting her, I always emphasize how, if I’m writing, I don’t like to be interrupted. Ruins m’flow.
“I know you have you write, you’ve told me and told me,” she said from her perch in the living room. I have. I’ve tried to write all the other days she’s been here and as soon as I sit down, she’ll be all, “Where are your spoons?”
So, I said, “Okay, here I go. Really writing now.” I sat down. Stretched my claws. Poised over the keyboard.
“Did you feed Edsel?”
Mom’s here. Not that there’s photographic evidence, because my phone is still broken, and a replacement is on its way. Any photos from this weekend were because someone else took a picture after I said, “Will you take a picture of this? My not-blog is gonna be boring as shit.”
Not that shit’s really boring. And speaking of which, I start my colonoscopy prep tomorrow. This whole time that mom has been here, I’ve had to not consume beans, peas, nuts, raw vegetables and anything with pulp. Naturally all I’ve craved is beans, peas, nuts, raw vegetables and anything with pulp.
I got to the airport after work Friday five minutes before mom’s flight was to get in, found a meter with half an hour already on it right near the door, walked into baggage and the only person standing there was mom in an empty room. It’s like she’d eaten all the other passengers, just like that time one kid brought in a praying mantis for Take a Bug to School day.
“Did your flight get in early?”
“It did, and I was in the second row!” mom exclaimed. We went out to eat and then went to my house, so mom could spend 72 hours with her hands in front of her like a mime, framing everything to see where it should be moved. My stepfather says he always knows there’s trouble ahead when mom gets her mime let’s-move-shit hands like that.
So far, I have a new couch coming tomorrow (well, “new.” We went to that vintage store I like), I have my grandmother’s bed frame now, and a pretty little secretary, (not like I have Mrs. Wiggins, but a little desk), and a stately old wooden chair.
Why don’t you take a picture, June?
Yesterday, on my birthday, Ned and Marty Martin came over to move my old couch to the curb.
Also, I tried to show you the pretty birthday card my mother insisted on buying for me while I was standing right next to her. “What’s the point of getting me a card if I’m right here?” I kept asking. She reached for one with black high heels, where the heels had silver gems on them, and I was all, “I like this one with seafoam gems and feathers and flowers.”
You just want it cause it’s gaudy. “But this one’s so pretty,” she said. “IT’s MY CARD,” I insisted. So I got the feather one. Her name was Lola. She was a showgirl.
I forgot to tell Marty Martin that he had to come to my back room and stand around me before my desktop computer, the traditional way to celebrate turning 52, but I DID remember to force him to take a photo of the pretty cupcakes he bought me. I was all, “For fuck’s sake, don’t TEXT this to me.” Stupid phone.
Let’s have a little game: Which one did June eat first? Also, why can’t June lose the weight?
Ned took mom and me to lunch after, where I had something without beans, peas, nuts, raw vegetables or anything with pulp. Ned got something involving grits and eggs and avocado, and mom got a hamburger. Our waitress did The Thing.
“How’s everything tasting?”
“Everything still tasting good?”
“We still good here, folks? You need refills?”
“Everything still good? Still workin’ on that?”
“How about dessert?”
“No rush, just wanted to cockblock yet another of your punchlines.”
JUST BE QUIET. Bring stuff, set it down quietly, and if, when you’re at the table, we NEED something, we will SAY something. And for the love of god don’t ask me how everything’s tasting.
Fifty-two has made me a lot more charitable. It shows in my soul. In fact, at lunch, there was an enormous painting of an old woman glowering at the room and I said she was a painting of my soul.
“Why didn’t you take a picture, June?”
Afterward, I got to decide what we did next cause it was my birthday and all. Naturally this means we went to the cemetery and looked at old-fashioned names and commented on when people died and so on. Then we got ice cream. Anyone blood related to me is nodding her head. Yes. That’s what you do to unwind.
Between you and me, all I really wanted to do was eat nectarines (they aren’t on the list so shut up) and read my Real Romance magazines Faithful Reader Paula sent me. One was from the late ’40s and one from the mid-’60s. I’ve managed to sneak in almost all the stories, and I’m sort of wondering how work would feel if I had one at my desk today.
All day, I kept reminding everyone to let me listen for my click at 4:52. I was particularly excited to listen for it this year because I was born at 4:52 and I AM 52 now.
Years ago, my grandmother told me that every year on your birthday, the exact minute you were born, if you’re really quiet and still you can hear your number click over to the next one. Now that I’m not 8 (but really, am I not?), it dawns on me she likely told me this during one overheated birthday celebration so I’d SHUT THE FUCK UP (I probably kept asking every family member, “How’s everything tasting? Can I box that up for you?”), but of course every year I still try to hear my click.
We were rearranging things and mom had Mime Hands and so on when I said, “WHAT TIME IS IT?”
“Almost 5:00,” said annoying Ned.
“HOW CLOSE TO 5:00?”
Anyway, then in the evening, my mother said Ned and I should go off and have a drink without her, so we went to the hotel that I like, near my house.
Hey, June, drink something girly. I wish I could learn to enjoy scotch, neat or vodka rocks or something a dame would drink. “I’d like sparkling rosé, please. Because I am a walking vagina.”
Ned and I decided to split a cheeseburger while we were there, and please see weight: shedding. The waiter asked, “Do you want the lettuce and heirloom tomatoes with that?”
When it came, Ned loaded his raw vegetables on it, and halfway through, he was all, “I know this is terrible of me to say, but cheeseburgers are so much better if you have a really perfect tomato.”
I set down my drink.
“You know what’s fantastic, Ned? Is when you have an orgasm, and oh, look! Here comes another one! And oh, yay, another after that.”
I sipped my drink. Stupid Ned.
I’d have taken a photo of the perfect sunset for you, but maybe I didn’t mention I broke my phone.
P.S. Oh! I almost forgot! I almost forgot because mom stopped over here to ask if I shouldn’t be leaving for work now, and did I know there’s cat barf. Anyway, we also, with our ice cream, drove around and looked at rich people’s houses.
We saw one woman power walking, and I recognized her. I waved, and she waved tepidly back. “How do I know her?” I kept asking. Later, as I walked Edsel last night, it hit me.
It was the doctor who’d sent me the note, banning me from returning to her office. And there I was, stalking her in her neighborhood.
“Why didn’t you take a picture, June?”