I took a bath tonight with the Tired Old Ass bath salts that Connie gave you. I searched the Mixed Tapes app on my phone for witchy goddess music to chill to but found darker tunes about laughing at funerals, which I liked much more. I laid in the bath looking up at the laundry drying on the retractable clothesline above me, a device I’ve been using the last few weeks and loving. My guess is that you would have loved it less than I do. It makes the clothes kind of stiff, and there would be (almost) no way to keep up with our family of 5, but it’s just me and Stella now. I’m curious to see what the PG&E bill will look like this month.
It’s funny to me that I’m just now using a clothesline in my life. I think it’s because you were the domestic force of the family, and it would have been a drag to add an extra step to what seemed like a never-ending laundry cycle. But I really like it. I like looking into the bathroom - just beside the laundry room - and seeing our linens on a line. And no one had to schlep them 3 stories down into the garden! And then 3 stories back up! That fact I know we would have both dug.
I’ve been reticent to write on the blog because I’ve been having such a hard time emotionally, and this is a public place, and some of that stuff had to be just-between-us in my journal or in prayer. But tonight as I looked up at the clothesline and listened to what my phone called American Gothic Horror Story (or something) I reflected on the little ways in which my life has become ‘more mine’ since you died… I know that wouldn’t bum you out to hear it. It’s interesting, and not all bad. I would trade it all back if I could, but I am finding a few worthwhile life changes in amongst the days of sadness.
For instance, remember that guy Chris we met at the Food Rescue fundraiser in December, the one with the avocado tree? I finally went back and picked up the 250 gallon food-grade container he promised me. Not sure how I’m going to get it over the fence (it sure won’t fit through the door!) but soon I will install it under the garden stairs for grey water – YES! – from the bath and laundry upstairs! I’ll have to check Tired Old Ass for ingredients that might not be good for the tomatoes.
Even before you died I began making similar decisions on my own. It might have seemed strange from the outside, but as you transitioned so did I. Nearly 47 years old and I have never lived on my own terms, alone, with no one to compromise with or convince of my hair-brained ideas. Orange couch? yep. Laundry detergent for the garden? yep. I have certainly found myself in situations that could have used your voice of reason, but I’m getting my sea legs. Yo Ho Ho, it’s the single life for me. :/
It’s been odd for me to learn (or be inspired) to cook for just one or two, especially since so much of my “end times” stockpiling was for a family of four! Nina and I share afternoon meals together occasionally, and of course we all still try to make it for Family Dinner Night on Thursdays…. it has been the one stable thing with all four of us since you left.
Lastly, I’ve been giving things away. Your clothes have been through a few cycles of review and release. I hope to donate your suits and such to a deserving transman – I have Erik on the case. This morning I decided to look – again – at the books… some to reorganize, some to send to Faith Food Fridays (where a lot of your clothes have gone), some to set aside for Quinn when she makes the leap to full-on adult reading – I imagine she’ll be happy to read what you once loved. As I combed through the shelves I came across a book I gave you as a Christmas gift when we first started dating in 2008 - the supremely dated Esquire Good Grooming For Men, c) 1969. In it I found the card I wrote, which said “Jay - Raise a glass to the first Christmas of your new life. I can’t tell you what it means to me to be a part of it. I love you - Adrienne.” Now it’s the summer of my new life. I’m trying to cut down on the glasses I’m raising, and holding onto the small celebrations of this new world I’m in without you. Like my clothesline.
I miss you so much.