Fleeting Moments of a Day
I stood sipping on a cup of coffee, staring out of the window, past my own reflection, to watch the river flowing along peacefully this morning. I heard the whistle of a train coming in the distance and as it neared, thought it sounded mournful. It has rained here the last couple of days and the chill in the air has made me cold right down to my bones. I don't know why it is but days like this seem to turn my thoughts to the negative. While standing there at the window this morning I thought it would be nice to be somewhere else or maybe even be someone else.
Later in the morning, as I was trying to get the newspaper out of the delivery box and blink away the rain drops that were filling my eyes, I slipped in a puddle of water and landed right on my ample backside, ripping my jeans. As I made my way back to my feet, I heard another train whistle approaching and felt the vibration of the train rumble down my spine. It was as if it was stroking each and every nerve ending as it slid down my back. I stood there in the rain waiting for the train to come into sight, feeling as if I was about to be flattened.
By the time I went back into the house, my thoughts were as jumbled as a jigsaw puzzle fresh from the box. Has my life been marked only by bills and receipts, faded photographs, and empty medicine bottles? What if I just fall backward into the past and never find my way back to the present. Looking around my home I realized that was not really what I had planned for my life.
Before long it was time for lunch and my mother, along with my elderly neighbor, sat at the dining room table. I served them sandwiches along with steaming bowls of vegetable soup. Both women are in their eighties and though my mother is suffering renal failure and a host of other ailments, she still has an almost radiant promise about her as she talks. She smiles easily and often as she tells stories about her life. I haven't been sure for several years now of whether the stories are truth or embellished fiction but they often cause me to laugh and today was no exception. The neighbor, on the other hand, is a person filled with a sense of impending gloom and doom. Maybe, I thought, I've been spending too much time with this lady.
"Is your granddaughter still wanting to have a baby?" The neighbor asked with a melancholy tone to her voice. "Boy, they're a lot of trouble once they get here."
"They cheer you up!" My mother said with a mischievous smile. "They smell like talcum powder and they keep you so busy chasing them you don't have time to think about sex."
"Sex! Good Lord! I was so busy taking care of people I didn't have time for..."
My mother interrupted her. "Oh, that's hogwash! You wouldn't have had all them people to take care of if you wasn't enjoying your old man." The neighbor's face reddened.
"Well, did you get pregnant easy?" The neighbor asked.
"All I had to do was take my shoes off!" My mother said boastfully. "I had to start sleeping with my shoes on to stay out of trouble."
My neighbor's eyes widened and I burst out laughing. I felt cheerful, like myself again. Sometimes I get so caught up in tackling the care giving, the dishes, the phone calls, and the laundry that I feel like I am never finishing anything at all. The truth is, I'm doing pretty much everything, everyday, and doing it well.
This evening, watching an autumn sunset, I felt quiet and peaceful inside. I will always have chores, regrets, and probably doubts but I will also find laughter, moments of serenity, and rays of sunshine. Life is good.
© Dianna Doles-Petry