Little Miss Marker. That’s me.
It’s hard not to think about what’s going on inside me. It’s like being on a road and you know, you absolutely know, that there’s a monster, a troll, hiding somewhere. Crunching rocks, spitting, stupid mean, it’s my monster. I can walk slowly or recklessly fast. I can put on the flashlight or walk in the darkness. It doesn’t matter. There’s a monster on the road ahead.
I like to think I’m getting better but the fact is that this is a chronic condition. It will never go away. I carry the marker. The fucked up strand of DNA that allowed the beast to incubate. It was the little marker that I lived with all my life. The sign. I lived in ignorance and bliss. Little Miss Marker was there. I didn’t know.
I can see her. Sometimes I picture her so I can destroy her. I can’t ignore the fact of this monster. I know now. She’ll never go away.
Today was so beautiful. The leaves are changing here in the Pacific Northwest. The sky is full of towers of clouds in every shade of soft gray and pale blue, with distant glimpses of white buried deep inside. Grey the colour of the ash of a hot fire. Ponderous moving pillars that tear apart stickily to show a sky that was a blue that isn’t cerulean, it isn’t deep, powder blue, or pink. It’s all that. Hail turned the road white this morning, pinging, then ripping and pounding and, finally, ticking ticking on the car. I drove out of it. It was like an invisible wall. Hail. Then nothing. A dry road ahead. I drove with my windows down, I like that. The feel of the rain and hail blowing into the car. The sound. The wind had picked up and I could feel it, smell it, blowing along the pavement. Sweeps of leaves, the trees were roaring. It sounded like the ocean. A red and gold and green ocean.
And I can’t help thinking that this will all be here next year. But maybe I won’t be. All the things I love will be here and all my past will disappear in a gulp. Some pictures left. Some stories that people tell even though it hurts to remember what happened.
A couple of times, every so often, people will raise a glass and say ‘Here’s to Laura. She was…’ Whatever they’ll say. It doesn’t matter to me. The only thing that matters is ‘was’. She was.
This morning I woke up and I was afraid. I drank tea and read some blogs and answered some emails and made an appointment with the acupuncturist…I stood leaning out my bedroom window, looking at the rain coming down, watching out for the big spider that is living in the corner of the frame. I don’t mind her. She’s just trying to survive. My cat, Mr. Jones, came and sat with me on the window ledge, watching the rain. He was purring. I like the way he smells. He smells like flowers. He doesn’t mind when I bury my face in his fur.
I decided to get out. Drive somewhere. I like driving. I put on Hank Williams and sang along with every track. I know every word to every song. All 24 of them. I went to the Goodwill and bought a sweater and a big plate. We don’t need big plates but I bought it because I liked the fish painted on it. It was only 5$. I went to Sears to pick up a pair of cheap waterproof boots I’d ordered online. They’re too tight but I took them anyway. I don’t know why. I stopped at the outlet grocery store and bought cheese and tin foil. Some organic coconut palm sugar, whatever that is.
Right now I’m sitting in a local dive called Helter Skelter. It’s got a picture of Charles Manson on the marquee and a nicely framed picture of him with the swastika carved into his forehead right inside the door. It’s next to a tattoo parlour. It looks scary but the logo was what made me stop the first time I saw it. I thought ‘They’ve gotta be kidding.’ The owner said the name and the Charles Manson logo keeps out the straight people. The un fun crowd who care about things like that. Ha. He’s right. This is a working class place. Its full of nice blue collar guys. I buy football squares here. Drink a beer with the regulars. Sit and write when I’m alone. Try not to think. Listen to the guys cussing and swearing and laughing about someone almost capsizing their boat last weekend, the problems with the fishing industry, the shipyard and whether it’s hiring, cooking for the kids. Nice, manageable problems. No monsters here.
I have to go home. I can’t sit here much longer. The ipad is losing juice and so am I. I like to think I’m going to stay here for a couple or three hours, drinking, talking, writing, but that’s not going to happen. I’m sick. I tire easily. My feet are on fire from neuropathy. I am tired. I have to fight even when I don’t want to. I want peace. Quiet. But I won’t stop fighting. The only thing I have is my rusty bent coat hanger. Like that girl in the movie. Like that post I wrote back when fighting this was easy. I’ve got to get away. Use whatever I can. Escape the monster and run away.
Screw all this. Being afraid of the CT scan, what the blood tests say, whether I’m doing everything I can. I don’t want to admit that even changing the sheets on my bed tires me out. Work is harder than I thought it was going to be. The whole year is shot. This time last year I was so sick. We were moving. It was a nightmare. At least I thought it was. I was wrong though. That wasn’t the nightmare…it was just gathering steam.