I dusted off an old essay I wrote seven years ago.
Lila stretched out on the couch adjusting her hip to fit more closely to the back cushion. The light from the sunset was failing through the big windows in the living room and she was watching the far wall so intently she could see it fade in its brightness.
It was a yellow wall next to the front door. Over the door, the huge logs called vigas were turning a shade of red from the sunlight. The front door depressed her.
She told herself she was on “a break.” There was art to do, articles to write, a blog to keep up and a million other things she could be doing. She was here on the sofa not doing much but thinking about the sadness in her life.
It happened suddenly over 19 years ago, but it could be two minutes ago, the emotions were still so raw. Do you ever really forget the day your child died? It was a totally paralyzing agony she went through when he died. It moved her life so radically that she became several other people during her grieving time. She always started this remembrance by going over the little memories in her mind. They were her only memories and sometimes she feared they would fade and she’d have nothing.
She hugged herself a little more as she moved her legs into a more comfortable position. She sighed – she was getting older and her legs hurt.
She had parked at the Flying Star while meeting Susan for lunch – a day out of the house.
When she walked back to her car, a big delivery truck had squeezed its way into the parking space beside her driver’s side door. She could open the door, but could not move her bulk into the door to get to the seat.
There was no driver in the truck, so she had walked to other side and got into the passenger side door. She sat there for a moment and looked at the gear shift and the brake in her way. She wasn’t as flexible as she used to be. She wrestled a leg over the shifter and the brake and got stuck lifting her self up and over the console. She wiggled into the driver seat with one leg still over on the passenger side. It was her bad leg. She turned and looked out the back window – were people watching? No, didn’t look like it. She was unable to lift it to where it needed to go. She grabbed her jean pant leg and pulled her foot up to the shifter. There was not enough room to move it down on the floor. She wiggled farther back in the seat and it was enough the put her leg down. She pulled herself into her seat to get into her driving mode and breathed a sigh of relief. She was embarrassed by the wrestling maneuvers she needed to do to get into the seat. She couldn’t fit in the door. She was so out of shape that the mere instance of getting in from another side was a major physical problem. All this started her on the road to self-pity – or that’s what she called it.
She turned over and faced the back of the sofa and had to adjust her butt so it didn’t fall off the side. She bent her knees to ease the bruised thighs that mashed into the shifter. She could still see his face, her son who died. She began to panic that she forgot what he was wearing during that memory of his face, but she told herself it didn’t matter. Another part of her validated the fact that she was forgetting really important stuff.
Like taking care of herself.