Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Home, still.

So great is my longing for home that I somehow miss it even while I’m here. I rolled over and snuggled back into dreams when Dad rose before 4 and left for work. I limped down the hall a couple hours later, hoping that medial muscle will eventually loosen and allow me to walk normally. When Chienne waited patiently at the back doors, I went to open them and allowed the last sounds of crickets and the first chirps of birds inside along with the cold air of a Midwestern morning. I opened a few windows and doors so I could experience these mornings I miss so dearly.

The bus will soon rumble down the street. I boarded at 7:19 every morning for my first three years of high school. It was a long ride - nearly 40 minutes - that I often used to review for tests or stare out the window weaving daydreams. I find it much easier to wake now than I did then.

The peace soon shattered when Chienne needed out to bark at a dog, Sprout knocked down stools in his attempt to flee and Mom moved out of the bedroom with gentle questions over what the cat was doing. We now sit - the four of us - in the living room while I soak in the cold and Mom uses an afghan as protection against it.

She cried again last night, the pain seeming worse at night and the hope of its easing dying away. It’s constant, she said of the ache that has stretched to encompass her entire lower body. She walks and wishes she was sitting. Sits and wishes she was lying down. Rests on the couch and cries because nothing will work to make the pain stop. I held her hand and rubbed her legs and tried to soothe, all the while feeling useless. She’s lost 30 pounds since the surgery and though she tries to eat, she consumes little before pushing her plate toward Dad.

We cleaned and organized on Sunday, moving clutter to its proper place and trying to return the house to its former sense of order. We sit and talk, though I pause in my stories when she winces in pain, seeking a position that doesn’t tug at angry muscles. We hobble along together when we go out, both of us watching the other carefully so nobody trips and falls.

I’m not ready to go home yet. I was to leave today, but I find myself unable to do so. Rain was forecast for most of the drive, so I decided to postpone it - just until tomorrow. But it’s clear and lovely here and I’m still in pajamas, typing away while Mom has some cereal and the animals wander from door to door, listening to the creatures outside. There’s nothing pressing for me there, I think of work. I’m writing and revising papers here, so it’s not as if I’m completely neglecting my responsibilities. Plus, I so rarely make it home. Mom hates it when I leave. Just one more day.

Unfortunately, my uselessness extends even in my absence. Poor, dear Friend is struggling a bit with moving and work and her regal felines settling into their newest abode. Rocket Scientist, I believe she calls the smallest of the quartet, isn’t eating and is growing alarmingly small. I love that particular cat a lot, finding her the most loyal and gentle, having enjoyed the gentle pressure of her weight on my chest when I lie on Friend’s couch and rest a sore ankle or hurt feelings or aching head. I picked her up from the vet after she had tooth issues and wish I was home for a few hours today to help with these additional vet visits that I’m sure will stress both the cat and Friend. I could sit and pet her, or wait for various appointments that are keeping Friend from the lab - sitting is what I do, after all. But I am sitting several hours away and the guilty feeling nags at me while I’m here.

We saw Brother, et al. last night. Little One scampered around the table, stealing people’s noses and eating them. When we asked how we would smell, she would blow a puff of air and hand the nose back to its owner. When it came to Smallest One, asleep in her carrier, Little One would gently touch the tip of her tiny nose, but never tried to steal it. She stares into the carrier with this expression of awed joy - I hope the sisters will be good friends as Smallest One opens eyes that are deep, dark blue (and turning brown, I think!) a bit more often.

I held her for a few minutes after we finished dinner. I examined her tiny features, asked her if the slightly flaky skin on her little hands was normal for babies. I told her it would likely clear up on its own, then decided to discuss napping as it is apparently a favored hobby for both of us.

Little One offered hugs and kisses once Smallest One was handed back to her father and tucked securely in her carrier for the dash through the rain and a short ride to her house.

I currently sit in Dad’s recliner, Mom and I both on our laptops in the living room, next to the dollhouse my Grandpa built that holds 9 plastic Care Bears in the attic. Dad feels it unnecessary to learn their names. “Here’s Heart on His Belly Bear.” He said upon finding Tenderheart under a chair. “Rainbow on His Belly Bear is supervising.” He said, moving the legs into a stable position and putting the pink Cheer Bear on a piece of furniture to overlook the others. There’s Cupcake on His Belly Bear, Clover on His Belly Bear, Sunshine on His Belly Bear. Oh, and Thundercloud. “That’s his Indian name.” Dad explained after proclaiming Grumpy Bear his favorite.

I find I’m torn as to my favorite - not knowing whether I should be staying or going. For today, I will be home. With my mom. Tomorrow I’ll drive back to my life. And hope that the job will offer some interview so a day’s drive won’t separate my home from hers.

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