Archive for May, 2011

May 16, 2011

Beautiful metaphors and trite clichés of the archetypal road metaphor never mention stepping in turds.

by lisa st john

I am not a fan of squirrels, but the idea of “squirreling things away” has always been important to me.  I stick twenty dollar bills inside statues and in unused lamps around the house. Ten dollar bills go in winter coat pockets and unused bowls. I hide wine bottles in food cupboards behind cereal. I write substitute plans for days I do not plan on being out. I need a plan B or I cannot function. Admittedly this is a mix of OCD with a dash of PTSD, but it makes me comfortable so, … so there.

The most difficult thing to squirrel away, I have found, is kindness.

When the pharmacy technician calls me by name and puts me first in the line because she sees the redness in my eyes and knows the cancer-slapping morphine for my husband is in her hands … I store it away or I will start sobbing on the spot.

When my colleagues (there is no great word for friend comrade co-worker confidante conspirator so “colleagues” will have to do) write me a letter (With stamps! In an envelope! Via snail mail!) or give me gifts (Wine store! Manicure! Grocery Store!) or send me an email saying, “The whole school feels different when you’re not here.  Great to see you this morning.” I store it away. When my sisters put rubber sharks in my car and make amazing phone calls and bring me plants, I store it away.

I store it away or I will start howling. And, as Margaret Atwood aptly says, “Howling would be uncalled for.”

When our son makes beauty in prose I store it. When my husband says, “I love you” I store it.

I store it in a different place than my analytical lists of “buy eggs, refill gabopentin, take out garbage, pay housecleaner, do laundry, mow lawn.”

I store it in a different place than well meaning friends who basically say, “Suck it up.”

I store it all, these kindnesses, because someday I know I will need them when I have time to weep.

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