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Kansas City MO 64131

TWO

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TWO

Cindy Maddera

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This weekend was pretty awful. Michael and I picked at each other all weekend. The Cabbage woke up at 4:30 AM Saturday puking in her bed. This did nothing to improve the quarrelsome tension between us. In an attempt to escape the tension and chaos, I sneaked out of the house for a morning yoga class and then I went grocery shopping on my own. I was lugging my giant reusable grocery bag filled to the max with groceries while also trying to carry a bag filled with the things that would not fit in the reusable bag in my other hand. This one contained the eggs. I got these things out of the car, the largest bag situated on my shoulder like a pack mule, took one step and went down hard on the driveway. The pain that shot through my right hip and knee was the kind that made me slightly queasy. I sat there for a few minutes feeling the cold ice seeping into the seat of my pants, before peeling myself off the drive and finishing what I'd started. At least the eggs survived. Pride goes before a fall. Later I would tell Michael that I didn't need someone to take care of me and then later still, he would bring me grilled cheese and tomato soup on a tray in bed. Every thing Michael did or said this weekend irritated me. As a result I was awful, condescending and critical. I was so ugly. I was so shameful. Each criticism was a verbal shove, an unspoken "don't love me" or "don't love me enough to want to stay". Finally, Sunday, Michael put his arms around me and said "We both have some hard dates this week. Let's be gentle with each other." And then I started sobbing, the kind of sobbing that I only allow to happen behind a locked bathroom door. There's maybe three other people that have seen me cry like that and one of them is dead. I don't know which part was worse, the letting it happen part or the part where I actually let him see it happen. Or the part where I took it all out on him. Then the sewage started to back up in the basement. How fitting. The whole house was overflowing with shit.

As Michael was tucking me into bed last night, he asked me how he was supposed to be today. I didn't understand is question. He didn't know how he was supposed to treat this day. I told him to treat it like any other day. What I should have added was that this day is not special. Special implies holidays and cookies. The day Chris left us was not a special day. No holiday. No cookies. I slept fitfully last night. I thought I heard the sounds of Michael throwing up and then worried that he'd caught whatever stomach thing from the Cabbage. When I slept, I dreamed that I was stuck at Mom's house without a way to get to work. I'd ridden my scooter to work the day before, but the weather had turned and I'd had to leave my scooter at work. Chris was at mom's too. He was sick, but not sick with the same thing that killed him. He just had the regular old flu. It was the kind of dream that just ended. No resolution. No answers. Chris, once again not saying anything of use to me. I suppose he thinks that I contain all the wisdom I need to know.

I wonder if there will come a time when I don't remember this date has any significance in my life other than it just being the 10th of February. The only thing that surprises me about today is that it's been two years. It seems like longer, maybe because I pressed the fast forward button on my life the day he died. I sat on my bed that day while I let someone else clean up the evidence of Chris and illness and death. Maybe in hopes of erasing the horror of it all from my memory. Maybe if I stepped out into a clean living room, no hospital bed, no pill bottles, then none of this had ever happened. Except Chris was gone. Easier to accept his disappearance without the reasoning of the how he disappeared. Not really. I wasn't built for easy, but I'll admit to moments of fragility. My sore hip and bruised knee are proof of that. Some dates are just hard. Let's be gentle with each other.