Spirit phones and homegrown tomatoes

September 7, 2009


Sometimes malaise sneaks up on me, and other times it follows a more predictable path. As cliché as it might sound, today’s bout of blues definitely seems related to the fast-approaching 2nd anniversary of Mike’s death (Sept 13).

I’ve found no good way defend myself against the pain. It comes uninvited.

I am haunted by a past that is gone and a future that no longer exists. It began in the relative quiet of Labor Day after Flash, CC, and her kitten Casey departed from The Okey Dokey Ranch after spending a raucous and rainy but fun Saturday and Sunday here.

This afternoon, Marley went to Tannehill State Park with her friend Bella, which left me alone with Avery. The boy has been quite wild all weekend—a draining surprise after he acted disarmingly docile and charming Friday afternoon after school. By Monday afternoon I was, shall we say, finding it difficult to appreciate Avery being anywhere near me. I really just wanted to be alone with my thoughts.

Drained and vaguely sad by 3 pm, I decided to nap. I asked Avery if he would like to join me, but he declined and agreed to let me sleep in peace. But he quickly became bored and kept bothering me, despite the fact that just an hour earlier, he had used nearly all of his allowance money to buy a Bakugon and a Transformer during our trip to the dreaded Wal-Mart. He began hopping onto my bed and was generally disruptive.

I gave up on the idea of a nice siesta in a fit of frustration and tears, and decided to work in the garden. But Avery was only mildly interested in participating in any garden chores. He picked two tomatoes and was over it and then he sprayed some fire ant hills with vinegar (an experimental treatment I’m using) all the while saying “I can’t wait until we get chickens so I don’t have to do this.”

Finally, he became more interested in eating dinner than helping out. And he began repeatedly asking me when Marley would get home. And when could he have a playdate and on and on and on, incessantly demanding my energy and attention. I rather on edge by this point.

So I began to make dinner with the fresh tomatoes and basil we’d picked . Avery begged me to play some Bob Marley. I dropped in a CD from our collection, and wham!—heart piercing grief dropped in for a spell. This music, I realized, came from another life. I cried as I sliced tomatoes. Marley helped me make decadent little pizzas on thick slices of wheat bread topped with a touch of marinara sauce and a giant basil leaf covered with a large slice of havarti cheese and topped with freshly-picked tomato slices which we then smothered with feta and parmesan cheese.. The result was phenomenal,  bursting with flavor. The kids raved as they gobbled up their mini pizzas.

Then, a remarkable exchange took place:

Avery: ”I wish daddy were here, he’d really like this. What’s his phone number?”

Me: “He doesn’t have a phone anymore.”

Avery: “What was his phone number?”

Me: “222-6237”

Marley: “That’s a lot of 2’s!”

Avery: “I wish I had a phone. A spirit phone. It would kind of be like Facebook for spirits.”

I should have known Avery was thinking about his dad. After dinner, Marley kindly gave me a backrub.

And at long last, I put the kids to bed. All the while, the phone keeps ringing.

Is it any wonder that I sit alone and frozen in the dark, unable to answer the calls of the living?

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One Response to “Spirit phones and homegrown tomatoes”

  1. sharron Says:

    Wow, sounds like the little guy is quite tuned in. I wonder what a spirit phone would look like? Maybe he could make one, and call his Dad and have a good, long chat. It is sweet that he thought of him when he tasted yummy food. . .


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