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IN THE KEY OF D

Cindy Maddera

Saturday morning, I got up and headed out for my usual Saturday morning routine. Michael and I have agreed that on the weekends we have the Cabbage with us that I should do the grocery shopping on my own. It's just easier and I get it all done before the two of them make any kind of peep of getting out of bed. On this particularly cold Saturday morning, I walk into Trader Joe's and I'm half way through the produce when they start playing China Girl. I can't help singing along as I marked things off the grocery list. 

"And when I get excited, my little China girl says 'Oh Baby, just you shut your mouth."

I get home and put all of the groceries away. The house is still quiet with the exception of Josephine who follows me around while dragging the toy Mom bought her for Christmas. There's a squeaker on the end and Josephine holds that end in her mouth, repeatedly biting down making a clacking squeak sound. "Play with me." So I do. We play tug of war for a bit until I look at the clock and wonder if I should nudge the sleeping bears. We have to drop the Cabbage off at birthday party across town at noon. 

Before I can make a decision about waking the others, Michael comes into the kitchen and drinks a full glass of water. He nudges the Cabbage and then gets in the shower. At some point Michael asks me how my mental health is doing today. I shrug and say that I think I'm doing okay and I believe it when the words come out of my mouth. Really. Then we're in the car, teeth chattering from the cold, backing out of the driveway and heading out. Ask Me Another is playing on the radio and Michael turns up the volume so we can hear the interview of Chris Hadfield. The host asks Chris to play Ground Control to Major Tom, the song he sang in a YouTube video while on the space station. Chris starts singing and there is something so perfect about his performance. I don't know what happens or why, but suddenly tears are streaming down my face. It's the second time today that I am hearing David Bowie and I start to wonder if Chris (my Chris) is trying to send me a message. 

We drop the Cabbage off at the ice-skating rink for the birthday party and then head over to a Chinese place for lunch. Michael and I are the youngest people in the place and no one is Asian. We should have turned around and left but we stay and eat the blandest Chinese food. My vegetables are basically raw, which I don't mind. I'm not a fan of over cooked, soggy veggies, but all the chewing was exhausting. Maybe Chris had been trying to warn me about our lunch choice and I totally missed it. Disappointed with lunch and with an hour left to kill before we pick the Cabbage up, we head over to the Duluth Trading Company so I can get a pair of fleece lined leggings. I grab the last pair of XS from the shelf and try them on. The last time I bought leggings from there, I bought the mediums and they were too big. I exchanged them for a small and even those constantly need to be tugged back up onto my hips through out the day. I but the XS small and was shook my head at sizing. I've never been an XS small anything. Ever. I'm still not, but I'll let Duluth think that I am. 

We go back to the skate rink to collect the Cabbage and watch her walk around on ice skates on the ice. It's too late for me to get skates because the free skate time is about to end. So we help the Cabbage get her skates off and then head home. Michael wants to make a stop at Vintage Stock. The Cabbage has recently discovered Minecraft and he wants to get a copy for her to play on the X-Box in the basement. I wander around the toy and collectible section and try not to think about which toys Chris would have bought here today. I pick up a Princess Leia from the Force Awakens and for a moment consider buying it. I put it back because I know that money would be better spent elsewhere. Game purchased, we finally head home. I distract myself with laundry and reading a book while the Olympics play in the background. I'm going to make it through this day without shattering into a million pieces. Which I do. No thanks to David Bowie. 

I leave for New York early Wednesday morning. Michael will join me Friday night. We have not traveled together before to a vacation destination where we have to fly. We have not done this kind of sightseeing together where we try to cram as much as possible into two days. New York City is a lot. I'm glad I'm leaving before him so that I have two days to acclimate to the city. Maybe I'll just hermit it up in our apartment, only leaving to walk a dog and get food. My bag is packed. I'm mostly ready to go. It seems odd to imagine being still in a city like New York, but I'm looking forward to being still.

I believe with my whole heart (or what's left of my heart) that I will come back with better stories, the kind of story that I'd want to read.