hearts in the arbutus

My heart is sick with a family matter and I wander the house, sleepless and headachy from ending my love affair with coffee. Why does a person feel so ill when they’re trying to get healthy? Oh I know. I know. All those terrible toxins are leaching out. Sexy. I bend down over my Valentine’s bouquet to sniff a fading rose.IMG_3385

How can I write when I cannot think? The rain discourages me from a walk. I should go, regardless. Get in my 10,000 steps. The last great hike I went on was on Bowen. I came across a stand of arbutus with teenaged love hearts carved into the bark. I’m sure those hearts have long been broken. The injury to the smooth skin of the bark remains. How true. These things we do when we are young and don’t think of the mark.

IMG_3331I stare out the window of my condo at the tree house built into a large fir. They’re tearing it down to build a lane way home. Soon I will be staring at someone’s kitchen instead of an impertinent family of racoons. The ones that tried to eat my cat. Six of one devil, half dozen of the other.

Nora comes home with flowers from her Daddy and quite a bundle of generous lovely gifts from his new girlfriend. She seems fantastic. I am glad. Nora chats about her happily. “My ex always did have great taste in women”, I think to myself and smile. Last year Nora and I made a dozen carefully iced heart cookies and wrote “why I like you” messages with them for both Fellow and the other child. This year I have done nothing. Maybe because last year half of those carefully made cookies ended up in the garbage, uneaten, the notes all crumpled in a heap by the recycling bin. I get the feeling the notes embarrassed them, both being modest sorts. Oh well. No excuse to be a slacker. Try try again. So we whip up some dark chocolate chunk cookies and make home made ice-cream sandwiches for them, topped with plump raspberries.

I greet fellow at the door all fresh faced with lipstick and decked out hair, even though we are not going out anywhere. He grins, supposing what that might mean. He and the kids gobble up the ice-cream sandwiches while I cherish the seven raspberries reserved for me and my allergies.

Kids off to bed, after giggling over a game. The one child slides us a carefully wrought list of promises they vow to keep if only we will agree to a puppy. The dog we have, largely ignored by the kids, snores under the table.

My friend dings me a message. Oh that thoughtful Donnalea. She has remembered my stillborn died seven years ago today. She remembered before me. But I’ve been feeling it. The anniversary. Isn’t that something. Dreams and sleeplessness. Sad droopy roses. Yearning for a child that I’m too old for now. Right. It’s February.

I am taking too long to get to bed. Fellow has to get up ungodly early. I push my headache to the back corner of my left eye, keep my eyebrows on and sashay towards him with open lips. I think of the hearts carved into the soft bark of the arbutus trees as he smooths his hands over my body. I don’t mind being tender skinned in the face of love. Go ahead. Whatever comes, Life. Mark me.IMG_3330



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  1. Laura

    That was beautifully written. Thank you for sharing such a vulnerable and alive part of yourself….
    It inspires me as I look to my own work to be more authentic and open to the world and share more of my own stories…
    Laura Drummond

    1. Lucia Frangione

      thank you, dear Laura!

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