An Interview about Love & Loss

princess and rabbit

What do you want from me?
I want to write.
What do you want to write about?
Love and Loss.
Why?
Love and Loss are acquaintances of mine.
How do you know them?
I am Hope, Love’s sister.

What is love like?
She is contentious, friendly most of the time even on a bad day. Love has features that are adorable. Her cheeks are soft and eyes are responsive. She is aware of the needs of others. She’d grab a chair and bring it into a crowded room for a stranger who needs a place to sit. She enjoys being cherished, though, which I suppose is a weakness. She is nice and needs niceness like a fire burning up paper.

What is Loss like?
Loss is miserable. Ultimately wants to forget so that he doesn’t have to feel miserable anymore. He spends his time on opiates listening to music on the crystal radio. He has no mother, no father, and no family to speak of. He works on a neighbor’s farm and picks potatoes.

And Love, does she know Loss?
Not yet, they will meet at the end of the story though. The state of misery that Loss feels keeps him for seeing that Love is out there, but lucky for him Love sees him.

Love has a mother that is more interested in the flowers in the garden than the light that children bring into the home. Love’s mother is irritable and disinterested and her father works at a factory supervising women making men’s dress shirts. Love spends her childhood waiting for bigger things, imagining foreign worlds, dreaming of the day she’ll meet Amelia Earhart in person.

Why is Loss miserable?
Loss is miserable because he hasn’t learned how not to be. He has had no role models and not traveled elsewhere. His vision is limited to the walls he constructs around himself. His selfishness is unknown to him. He believes the degrading way he treats himself and others is because he, and they, deserve it. He lacks a soothingness necessary for learning a better self.

How will Loss let Love come into his life?
Loss has childhood memories of his Grandfather who was a carpenter and worked in big beautiful mansions. His grandfather was very gentle and treated Loss with respect. When Loss was in the room with his Grandpa, his Grandpa was aware of him and sent him praise. Events must unfold in order for Loss to crack the container he built around himself, without his misery there would be no chance for improvement.

Is Loss a bad guy?
Not at all, he is just misunderstood and always alone.

What events crack the seed of Loss?
Rumors of Love’s interest came first; like a whisper. Then a child appeared, seven-years-old or so. The seven-year-old was Love’s younger sister Hope.

Hope wore a dirty dress with faded flowers. Loss was in a second story apartment complex, lying in bed, listening to the birds outside the open window.

Hope was tossing stones from a street corner into a trashcan. Each stone made enough noise to cause Loss to look out the window, when the pane shattered beside him.

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The Easter Tradition

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Photo by LC Stair

My daughter is cleverer than I am. She coined the family term, “Easter Tradition.” An Easter Tradition is one where a child brings home the stomach bug. Then, everyone succumbs, a few days apart from one another, to shitting and vomiting to the extent of exhaustion and begging for mercy. It’s happened to our family, in our quaint house with one bathroom, for a few springtimes now. Having one bathroom certainly encourages the quick and tumultuous virus to spread like crabs in a drug-dealer’s trailer.

After the first victim, we religiously beach light switches, doorknobs, refrigerator handles, and wash our hands until they begin to look parched. My husband and I silently wait, who will be next? Dry heaves and stomach cramps be damned, will I wake at 2 in the morning or will I beat the odds?

The first time, on a night before Easter, both daughters got sick within an hour of one another. “Save the baby,” I said and called the in-laws in from their camper, which was parked in our backyard for the season. I realized we had the Rotavirus, or worse, the Norovirus in our house. I tied a t-shirt tied across my face like cowboy’s bandana in 1890 Tombstone, Arizona. My mother-in-law took our three-month-old son into the camper and laughed sweetly at our predicament.

While M was vomiting all over the toilet, S cried, humiliated by having to say it, “I have to poop!” I stopped rubbing M’s back and snatched the trashcan from its place. There was no other choice, I told S, “Shit in the trashcan.” She leaned back as though she understood her task. Squatting low, and appearing on target, she missed altogether and her body spew a brown muddiness all across the bathroom wall where it splashed like chocolate milk.

Because I’m inclined to research, I had read all about these viruses on the CDC’s website. I can tell you it’s bleach that kills the virus, and that the virus holder is contagious for a two to three days after they’ve recovered. Thus, my husband and I know the absolute importance of not getting either the shit or vomit in our eyes and mouths and noses.

A few minutes later, still wearing my fashioned facemask having just cleaned up the vomit from the toilet and shit on the wall, we began to make beds for them on the floor nearest the bathroom. He made one pallet and I the other, each of us unfurling blankets. As my hand went up to unfurl, his body came down to adjust – we touched one another – my hand, which had not yet been washed, met his face on the mouth. We instantly knew he would become the next victim of the Easter tradition. I started laughing, “I’m so sorry! That sucks. I’m so sorry!” (He did not laugh.)

Two days later he vomited and shit throughout the night. My son and I made it through unscathed. My in-laws did not; the stomach bug took them to the depths of hell in a 26-foot 5th wheel. They didn’t come out for a few days.

This year must have been the lesser virus because the shitting and vomiting were varied and not as detrimental. So far our nephew, my husband, and my son have had their turns. My in-laws might be next because my son became sick at their house (sorry for that!). Today is Easter, and each moment the remaining of us wait, crossing our fingers, washing out hands, hoping to avoid the Easter tradition.

Intellectual Sisterhood

Coffeebeans

What if texting could be like our days of letter writing?
And we talk about bullshit and enjoy our brain connection.

We were intellectual and artistic
and the world fueled our spite,
we spit-fired feminist in Austin Texas of 1998.

I would sketch like Vonnegut and wordsmith to you,
and you would wordsmith back,
Like our own private open mic night.

We ate music
and breathed in Camel Light cigarettes
while listening to Sonic Youth and talking Leonard Cohen.

Our heads thought of Lousie Erdrich,
and of other things rich in texture:
– Freshly baked sourdough loaf being torn apart
– Shoplifted white wine
– Green apples, to help smooth the sharp Chardonnay

You inspired me and I don’t remember telling you that –
and I feel a bit of sadness,
that we have been letting our age get the better of us.

I can’t wait for your visit
(and) I fear it as well
because I fear I’ll lose you
to being a grown-up,
and I miss you most,
and our intellectual sisterhood.

It is almost springtime and we’ve joined an airstream rally with my husband’s parents. Frogs croak and the sounds of the ocean waves roll in. My son stands beside me on a covered porch asking “What’s that sound?” and “Why you have a flashlight on your head?”

“Those are frogs croaking,” I said and pointed to my left. “That other sound you hear is from the ocean. The waves are rolling in.”

I explained having a flashlight strapped on my head, “So I that I can write in the dark.” I’m not sure what scared him most, the idea of frogs being vocal in an unseen darkness, the concept of an ocean’s waves coming, or his mother’s sudden place in the darkness. The look on his face was perplexed. His next question was bigger still, “Where does the water come from?” he asked.

I was overcoming another sunless winter and left its bed unmade. I crept out of it, feeling a lift in m mood because my son is adorable.

Hibachi Chef

The drunken-master Hibachi chef told us in his mix-match clichéd talk that he was a military man who claimed Florida as his home. He specifically said, “Well, you’ve got to claim someplace.”

This went through my head: by his claiming Florida, it meant he was unhappy in Washington. I say this because, unlike him, I would never claim any place other than Washington as my home.

At the Hibachi restaurant, we experienced a minimum wage working American playing the part of the fool. He degraded himself for tips. He was at least fifty years old and could have been a legitimate chef once with clients who adore his genius of combining plum sauce and fresh scallops. Now, he pretends to pour cheap plastic-bottled vodka onto the food he’s grilling for you. He holds the so-called vodka, which is really water, and shakes it at you, telling you how it makes you feel better at around 10 p.m. (I think that part might not have been a joke. He looked like he spoke from experience.) We giggled at his mania and decided his comedy, not cooking, warranted a big tip. It was like he performed without taking his clothes off. His comedy sucked, but his desperation showed.

Dear Drunken-Master Hibachi Chef,

I think there was truth in your statement, it saddened me. Florida was your only home and now you work in demeaning ways for everyday survival. Who were you in Florida?