Thursday, July 23, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
I didn't want to go, but I owed it to him.
I arrived at 3:05. Because the skies threatened rain everything had been moved indoors of the Carnegie Center for Literacy & Learning. It's a big stone building that once served as our city's only library, financed by Carnegie back when Carnegie financed libraries across the nation.
The main room was full of chairs, as was the center room. There were a few people there, but I saw Mary Ann right off. We hugged for a long time and just looked into each others eyes -- hers blue, growing faded. So many tears behind her; I hoped there were fewer ahead of her. We chatted for just a moment, then someone else came up to us so I let her go.
The first two rows had papers marked "reserved" on them, and I considered sitting in one of them. Who would stop me? Who was to say who the seats were for. But, of course, I didn't. The people sitting in the chairs and milling around all seemed to have an air of privilege about them -- they were personal friends of Jim, they were in his class, they were the singled-out students invited out to dinner, they alone knew how special he was . . . It brought back all that anger and angst I used to feel for all the people around here who seemed to hold themselves above me, back before I learned it was usually me holding myself lower than others. Today, they could all be as special as they wanted. I had nothing whatsoever to prove to any one any more, even myself.
I wandered into the Writers Resource Room to peruse the selection of literary magazines. A young woman and man followed me in, holding a huge bundle, which turned out to be movie-poster-sized photographs -- one of him as a child, a few more of him as an adult, and some he had taken. The couple began putting the photographs on boards to hang them upstairs where the reception would be.
After awhile I went back out into the main room and saw all the seats filled, and people were lined up to the doors, waiting to sign the guest book. I walked beside the rows of chairs, seeing who I could see, if there was anyone there I knew, anyone from all those endless classes. A woman motioned to me; I knew her face but absolutely could not remember her name or place her as a writer or student. I shook my head, embarrassed, because it was clear she knew me well.
"It's K," she said.
Shameful amazement ran through me. Of course! She said she and her husband were friends of Jim's and Mary Ann's. But how could I have not recognized her? We chatted a few minutes, and I remarked how calm she looked; she said she'd just gotten a massage. She was sitting beside S, who was in my first poetry class when I taught those few classes at Carnegie. She saw my Vermont tee-shirt and talked about how she'd spent a month one summer in Stowe, Vermont, doing nothing but writing poetry.
I saw C (publisher) at the guest book and went to him. I told him that B had offered some of her art work for the cover of my book. I hugged him and told him he had no idea what it meant to me to be getting the book published. "Well, it's good work," he said. We parted and I saw two women smiling at me -- but again I had no clue who they were. I suspected they were L and A, but I couldn't be sure. If it was them, it had been over 20 years ago. I smiled back but I didn't want to get in a conversation with them. Or anyone else.
I stood in the middle room for a moment, looking at the line of people that now stretched to the outside. I don't like crowds. Recordings were being played: some 50s French song, the Stones' Wild Horses. I realized I was the only person in shorts -- what had I been thinking?
It occurred to me then that the event was becoming, for me, an exercise in who knew who, a sort of old-home-week event. Jim deserved better of me. I didn't want to stay and cry all afternoon, which I knew I would if I stayed. Wouldn't I honor him better by going home and writing? Hadn't I'd already seen the most important person there -- Mary Ann? Maybe these were just rationalizations I was giving myself, but they made perfect sense to me.
So I made my way outside, past the line that now was halfway down the park. Cool wind, with the promise of rain, filled the car as I drove home.
at 5:09:00 PM
Friday, July 3, 2009
Back to the vet's this morning for hydration, meds, and gavage. It waa also time to do bloodwork to see if her uric acid levels were bad. I thought she was so much worse that all day I tried to prepare myself for the inevitable euthanasia.
I went back to pick her up this afternoon, and the vet said all her bloodwork came back normal.
I can cut out the morning meds and assume all is well. She said to watch Sugar's weight and, of course, call if I think there's a problem.
It's a miracle. There's no other way to explain this past month.
My baby is going to make it, and I don't care if that is false hope or not. She's going to make it!
at 5:46:00 PM