1. You have a keenness to never let your running mind rest. A keenness to be emotionally important.
You love dancing while wearing a bowtie and are not allergic to glee.
But you will never applaud a legend in the unmaking. Your dad, the retired banker, for one. His aging narrative has grown side effects.
Yesterday he was spotted exposing himself at a busy intersection while wearing see-through pantyhose beneath your mother’s curry-coloured coat. This caused mild excitement among passing motorists. The police were called. A witness described your dad as not having much to show for himself. He was quietly delivered home.
In light of this, your being an astrophysicist doesn’t seem like such a big deal today.
2. Today you are in the original mystery business, a former bride hoping to penetrate the story, deliver the goods. Elements of a leaping terrier appear, and devoted goats, elephants, flat floating fish. A festival of washing dishes, cooking, hauling garbage, weeping and laughing appears.
Mostly you are rushing from one beginning to another declaring, “Doesn’t the world look stunning? It almost feels natural!”
It’s hard to describe the look in your shiny chocolate eyes.
3. On this day you will mention to Gary, your husband of twenty-seven years, that you wouldn’t mind being your family’s head of state. You come from a long line of maternal control, you’ll explain, and so your request is not an unreasonable one. Furthermore, you will say, the men in your family do not become heads of state, ever. They tend to drop back to their own devices and drink Scotch in a corner of the living room with the cat on their lap.
It will be late afternoon when you broach the subject with Gary. Good news! He’ll be in the garden shed smoking his daily joint. He’ll be sitting on the old white leather chair he dragged out there and he’ll be looking at you pleasantly. You, on the other hand, will be breathless. Still, you will tell him what’s on your mind.
Gary will be quiet for a long while after you speak. He’ll be staring at the dust on the shovel. Finally, he will say, “If that’s what you want, Wendy…” And grin.
4. Today your dog will decide to end things. Your dog, who is wearing a red vinyl jacket and is tied to the tree on the boulevard outside the thrift store. His name is Rusty and suddenly he feels like he’s dragging a rusty anchor.
This is because he now understands the truth of his situation: you don’t really love him. It’s what he’s suspected for some time. That for you, being with him is like being in a prison. Because he, Rusty, is never going to grow up and go to school and get a job and support you later. Very quickly he’s going to become an old dog and, possibly, an expensive and cranky one.
When you come out of the thrift store he can read the truth in your eyes. Even though you say “Thank you so much for waiting for me,” he knows it’s a lie. Your mind is elsewhere. You’d sooner walk by him and visit that cat in the pet shop down the street.
Every dog should have a boy instead of a fifty-six-year-old woman, he thinks.