Big Red Monster

  

We’re visiting my parents – my mom has been wonderful, but my dad has definitely lost a lot since I last saw him. He can’t remember things day to day – often moment to moment is a real struggle. And he is suspicious; possesive of people and things. 

I’m pissed off at him. He’s been rude to Worf; suspicious of his movements, and ready to tear into him. 

There is a lot I can handle from my dad – even before he was sick, he could be a completely unreasonable asshole sometimes, and I often stood by him anyway. But if he is rude to my sweetheart, we are going to have some real problems. 

I’m pretty sure the anger is just a stage of grief, but in my defense, this big, red, suspicious monster is a real ass. 

In Which My Husband Grants my General Conference Wish

  

This weekend was the first weekend in April, which meant Mormons from all over the world gathered together (usually virtually, via the Internet) to listen to messages from our leaders. It involves several hours of talks on religious subjects, as well as beautiful music, and many Mormons have family traditions associated with the two-day semi-annual event. 

On Saturday night, I tweeted in rapid succession: 

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I wish this had happened, but it didn’t. And then a family member (whom I both love and respect) gave both the Klingon and I the impression that she did not feel morally comfortable with one of the choices we may have before us. 

I was feeling pretty down by the end of last night’s final session, and convinced the Klingon to take a walk with me around the lake near our home. Walking is good for the soul, and it makes it easier to talk about difficult things. 

Somewhere along the way, he mentioned that he had been thinking about Eve, in the Garden of Eden, how she must have felt a weight knowing she would be the mother of all living, but she had no children and no idea how to make it happen. We Mormons revere her for making the decision of eating the fruit, affecting the fall, but we don’t often think of the weight she must have carried that must have factored heavily into her decision.

“And then I was thinking about you, Mae. Nobody has tried harder or been more diligent in building our family than you. And if someone told you there was a fruit that would make it so you could have children, you couldn’t get it from them fast enough.

Maybe, he said, maybe infertility was the first challenge ever. 

And just like that, my sweet, stalwart Klingon of a husband provided the healing balm I’d been seeking. I love you, Worf.

Mae

Beautiful Strangers

Last week I rode the subway home as I normally do. I got off at the last stop on the line and inattentively worked my way toward the escalator. Waiting for the two messy rows of people to merge into one, an elderly woman stopped and let the family in front of me board. I, still dazed from the long ride home, waited for the elderly couple to move ahead in line, when I was jolted into awareness by her kind voice, saying, “Oh you go ahead, dear. We like to keep the family together.”

My head lurched, “Oh, no, we’re n…..” I was momentarily flabbergasted, and before I could finish correcting her, I blinked. She thought we were together.

That blink lasted somewhere between a millisecond and a thousand years, and in it I made an instantaneous calculation. While I wanted her to know that this family, a father with two children, was not mine, it didn’t really matter. The only thing that might have made any difference to her at all was knowing that she had been kind to a tired mother and her offspring.

As I was not a tired mother, the offer wasn’t really extended to me, but holding up traffic would get me nowhere. And so instead I smiled, quickly thanking her before taking my place in line. Carefully, I put a stair between myself and the little girl in front of me. I looked at the children and their dark, handsome father. The chatty little boy, maybe nine years old, was holding his dad’s hand (there was no mistaking that this attentive man was his father). Below them, the quiet girl shared their face, but instead had blonde hair, with light eyes looking up at me. My breath stopped in my chest as I realized how we had looked to the ordinary passerby. It had been an easy mistake, to assume we were together. It was uncanny.

We reached the top of the escalator, and I hurried past them, no longer concerned with letting the elderly woman feel as though she had done a good deed. No matter how it might have appeared, we were merely beautiful strangers; nothing less, and nothing more.

As I walked home in the snow, it continued to haunt me; in another reality, these beautiful children could have been mine. This darling little girl, her face now emblazoned across my memory, could have been my daughter; this precocious little boy, my son. He could have been my husband, and we could have been going home together.

But, alas, we were only strangers on a subway.

 

Mae