And Above All This Bustle You Hear

Since I stayed home Friday with the actor-with-a-sore throat, I wasn’t able to grade my final exams. After dropping off the much-improved-actor at her call for the matinee on Saturday, I set up my laptop at the little coffeeshop at the other end of the town square and graded away. A familiar older woman from our town sat at my table, since the (little) coffeeshop was so crowded, and we introduced ourselves, after all these years. I introduced myself to a woman I’d seen at the show the night before. Ends up she’s someone involved with the show that I’ve only known through e-mail. So, great, I met some new people, and I plowed through the grading, too. When a local librarian walked in the door, I figured the matinee must be over, so I packed it in and moseyed on down the street to fetch my favorite actor. We popped into the shops, then I treated her to dinner at the gourmet restaurant, where the staff said, “Nice to see you again so soon.” Daughter put her napkin on her lap and said, “Oh, this is fancy.” (To think, just two weeks before, she’d seen a matinee of Richard III featuring the greatest-actor-of-his-generation, followed by dinner on the Upper West Side, and now here she was, joining a local acting company in a vibrant local production, appreciating the local charm of dinner on the town square.) I made sure she drank lots of tea with honey, then I deposited her for her call for the evening performance and went home, for another Saturday night alone. As I pulled into my street it occurred to me that, given the weekend that it was, there were probably holiday parties I wasn’t invited to. I shrugged that thought off. The day wasn’t so bad. So long as I don’t think about what I’m missing and just enjoy what I have, then it’s okay, I guess.

Remind me of that next time I’m glum.

I suspect I’d be a whole lot happier if I could leave this town and start over. I’m sure that I’d be healthier if I had more control over my everyday life. Some of my household duties and family circumstances are holding me back from that leap that widows seem to make right around this time. I’m game to make the leap, but I’m stuck, without control over my schedule or environment. (I’m being evasive; I can’t write about everything here. Just know, it’s rough.) Sure, I know we can’t control any of these things, but I lack a sense of agency that I can even move around within this world. It’s constricting and stifling and not healthy, at all. The heartening development is that I’ve been sleeping better, and some regular sleep is fortifying me, making it easier to withstand these things I can’t control. I even feel a little glimmer of hope once in awhile.

Sleep is good.

A wreath was delivered to us via UPS. It’s beautiful. I’ve never had a wreath as an adult, and I checked the front door in the hopes that some previous owner had placed a nail there. No such luck, and I didn’t want to mar the nice door with a nail, so I went to the local gardening store and asked for “something to hook over a door to hang a wreath. Am I imagining this, or does this really exist?” and the owner said she had one left. The wreath looks gorgeous on my front door. Daughter says it looks really nice at night, when she gets dropped off from play rehearsal. I sure do appreciate those rides home, and I appreciate the scent of the wreath as I unlock the door, in that moment between working out there and opening the door to work at home, I savor the fragrance of fresh pine. Thing is, there was no card in the box, so I don’t know who sent this wreath. I look around and think, “Did you send it?” “Or was it you?” That’s the thing about anonymous gifts; they invite you to think that the sender could have been anyone, and I should see the possibility in everyone around me, and feel gratitude.

Now that’s a gift.



One thought on “And Above All This Bustle You Hear

  1. Your daughter sure is “blooming where she was planted” so to speak. You must be very proud of her and your hand in making her strong, involved in life and productive.

    If you really want to know who sent the wreath you could call the place where it came from. Perhaps a card was supposed to be included but got lost in the holiday busyness. I worked in a big floral shop for ten years and those things do happen…and it also happens that people send things anonymously to bring cheer where it’s needed.

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