Wednesday, April 04, 2012
securing the perimeter.
so yesterday afternoon i was cleaning out the hall closet which is to say i FINISHED unpacking the bathroom box i packed when we moved. sifting through stuff i should have tossed back in washington, throwing out expired meds, organizing what was left.
so what was weird, other than the fact that it's been a year and a half and i never unpacked the bathroom box fully, is that i found the switchblade my father gave me ON TOP OF a 6 page new york times book review of jonathan franzen's book 'the corrections' from september 2001. printed from the web in january of 2002. i read that book, i have that book, but i read it years later and i have never printed a book review from the web. ever.
moreover i packed that box and not only did i NOT pack the switchblade in the bathroom box (i kept it by my bed at the farm. upstairs.) i most certainly did NOT pack a 6 page 10 year old NYT book review. i would have remembered these things.
so i read the review which was long and wordy and made me remember how much i liked the book. a book my father hated. only because he never read it. because he was a disgruntled writer who didn't appreciate the success of other 'lesser' writers. at one point in the review, the author referenced eugene o'neill to draw a parallel and make a point. i finished reading it. and set it and the switchblade aside.
cut to this morning, i'm driving back from dropping the husband off at work and there's a story on the radio about eugene o'neill's play 'long day's journey into night' being staged in the area. and how eugene o'neill is so connected to the area. about how he died here. and how there's been sightings of his ghost. how he's buried in the same cemetery that is down the street from one of my very best friends from high school's old house (she just moved) and that i've been there. i just walked in that cemetery not long ago.
and how the actor who plays the son in the play, a play about eugene o'neill's family, how his own father, a director, worked on the original broadway production of the play. and that his last name was my father's mother's last name. and the middle name of my youngest son.
and how his father just died. in january. and how the memorial is in may.
so i looked up the father when i got home this morning. and his widow's middle name is the same as my father's first name. only the wacky way he spelled it later in life. not how it was spelled when he was born.
cut to yesterday evening. riding along in the car to the library i was getting very sleepy and my mind was drifting. and i had two thoughts, the first was: i wonder if my father is really watching over me. i mean we think the departed are, but is he really? and how would i know? i have the lucky pennies i find so i mean i know he is, i hope he is, but is he really? and the second was: i wonder if it's in poor taste to have a memorial so long after someone dies? because we never had one for my father. and maybe we could this summer. would people come? would they still care?
cut to very early yesterday morning when i opened the front door to see the duke off to the bus and it was UNLOCKED. and i had my usual, well it's a wonder we weren't all murdered in our sleep thought. my father was notorious for 'securing the perimeter' before turning in for the night. every window, every door. a weapon always by his side. he too was afraid of the dark. he had daughters to protect. and i have usually been so good in that department. but that's twice in two weeks something was left unlocked. unsecured. shit, i thought. and me without a weapon.
so this morning, sitting here, it's just like that part in the movie that cuts to all the signs along the way the lead actor suddenly puts it together, along with the audience, and the mystery is solved. closing the circle. stories about difficult families. names. getting what you need right when you need it. oh. yeah.
now. it's different in real life. not manufactured for entertainment that ties itself up neatly. i know we can make much of 'signs.' or what we see as signs. connecting dots that are just 'there.' and not 'really' meant to be connected.
but i feel like that's the beauty of it all. being able to see 'it' if we want to. even if sometimes we are making a big stretch. a big leap. we get to. we get to make that leap. we get to secure love and comfort for ourselves. manifest what we need. something to see and to hold. something to know is real. to know that we're still being looked out for.
which brings me to my final thought about all of this: i really need to make sure the goddamned doors and windows are always locked. i'm sure my father is horrified. and it's a wonder we haven't all been murdered in our sleep already.