Saturday, January 5, 2019

a moment in the day: needles

Stephen is sweeping pine needles from the space that used to be our Christmas tree.

Earlier today, I took down all the ornaments and put them away, wrapped the dead lights in loops, palm to elbow, and stowed them in the trunk where they'll wait for next year.

I picked up the Christmas waldteufel and gave it a spin for good luck for Stephen's healing.

As I worked, he'd been at Urgent Care, getting the four stitches removed from his lip from the very scary New Year's Eve two-in-the-morning fall from our bed.

He's been ailing so he hasn't been happy, so I haven't been happy. I don't like beginning a year in an unsettled place.

We've been to medical offices four times in the last six days. The ER on the morning of the 31st, then Urgent Care later that day, then Urgent Care again on the 4th when it looked like things were infected, and then today Stephen went back to have his stitches out, and as a bonus, in the middle of things, I got to get a mammogram. I'm not great at math, but that's a pretty darn obnoxious doctor-to-day average.

Scritch, scritch, Stephen sweeping pine needles. I take Nicholas out in the backyard for a walk. It's dark and he runs off across the yard, to lift his leg on the shadows of dormant day lilies.

Usually when I take down the Christmas tree, I try to make a little event out of it. Some music, some movie picked out for us to watch afterward, maybe fun food. To pretend it isn't sad to put Christmas to bed for another season. This year it seemed kind of fitting to put it to bed without any supper.

Stephen told me the removal of the stitches hurt a little. I feel bad that I didn't expect that somehow. For a pessimist, I tend to be weirdly optimistic sometimes, like, okay, this time he's just going to get his stitches removed, no problem. I feel bad that I didn't go along.

Nicholas pees on the spindly, leafless dogwood tree in the very corner of the yard. Over the fence, the neighbor's house is all dark except for one window, dead center up top, full of light. There's something furry in the window. And a man moving around. The something furry is maybe a cat, but no, it's way too big to be a cat, but it's right in the window, where cats like to be. I squint because sometimes I think if I squint, magical binoculars will appear in front of my eyes.

The man moves left, then right, then left in the window. The something furry breaks and dissolves in the movement if the man in the window.

And then I realize. The man is taking down his Christmas tree too.