Best Thing I Saw All Week

It’s been a weird week, in a million ways. I got a giant TV that was way, way too big. Four days later, an angel showed up and bought it and took it away, with the help of a friend since it was so big, and gave me the money I had paid out for it originally, so I was out nothing, and gained a lesson in buying used TVs.

There is much to do here. I finally got a very small couch. It’s cute and comfy. I need some other furniture, including some kind of torch lamp as it is really quite dark here, especially now that fall has arrived and I’m getting almost no light in my apartment at all. Things are dusty and dirty and I’m going to see if I can get the apartment complex to replace my scratched, cheap, horrid linoleum with some new, cheap linoleum I will try not to scratch. I need to dust and scrub down the walls. And about a million other things.

I’ve had a very busy couple of days at work. Almost no time to think. Barely carved out time to eat or work out, and no time to do both on any particular day. Today, eating won. Yesterday, running won. I get an MRI Monday morning early, where I hope to get some answers as to what the actual fuck is wrong with my hamstring and knees.

But the best thing, so unexpectedly tonight. I pulled up at school to pick up D, parked the car and got out, scanning the playground to see if he was there. Sometimes he is, sometimes, he is inside coloring. I saw him at the fence with another boy, a head taller and probably a year or so older. I could see they were in a “ready, set, go” mode, and I stood and watched as they took off – D false started and the kid called him out on it, so back he came and then they started together in unison. They sprinted all the way to the other side of the playground fence, touched it, and then came back.

I stopped in my tracks. This kid looked like Carl fucking Lewis, I swear. Pumping his arms and streaking so far in front of the other kid, my jaw was hanging open. Determined and smooth, a streak of orange, with every bit of youth, vitality and energy you could possibly have in a 5-year-old body. He turned just for a second to see how far ahead he was from the other kid, then blew him out of the water. I know I sound like a goddamned cornball, but tears sprang to my eyes. So, so lucky to have this kid. So, so very lucky.

Tonight at dinner, we talked more about track and field generally. I told him what I used to do and described the events. I was a short-distance runner and also did the long jump. I described what endurance is and how my runs are longer now, as I’ve learned how not to give it all at the beginning so I can run for a longer period of time, which I find more enjoyable. “But then you can run really fast at the end and win, right mom?” he said. Right. He asked me if I thought he was faster than me now and I said, quite honestly, “I’m not sure.” We will run some time this fall and see. Not tomorrow, as there is a swim lesson and then he’s going to an early Halloween party with his Dad.

Tomorrow is my Mom’s birthday. Earlier this year, I wasn’t sure what, if any kind of birthday we would ever cogently celebrate together again. She’s seeing a counselor and finally realizes that perhaps a life of being proud of not being sociable with people has not served her well, now that the very few friends she had have died or become so infirm they can’t get out of the house to do much of anything anymore. But she seems pretty normal, and we are going out tomorrow to go to the Goodwill together, maybe get some lunch somewhere. I haven’t got a lot of money and neither does she, so it won’t be fancy, but it will be nice.

I grew up regularly going to the Goodwill in Ashland with my grandmother and my mother. My grandma could shop like nobody’s fucking business, I’m serious. If you took that old woman to a mall, she could be in there all day, rummaging through stuff, mostly bitching about how expensive it was. But she really went to town in discount stores and thrift stores, sifting through every single thing and managing to come up with gems – a side effect of feeding 7 mouths through the Depression, I imagine. Most of her clothing was from the Goodwill. As she got really up there in years, during one of our marathon trips to Goodwill, I saw her slip off her Goodwill-bought shoes and slip on another pair and wear them home. When I asked her about it, she said, “What’s the difference? I bought the other ones here and so now I’m leaving them here. I’ve given them enough of my money!” She further said nobody would bother her about it because she was an old lady, and she was right. This is the same woman who, when taken out for a slightly fancy dinner one time for her birthday, asked for a glass of “shab-liss” when she saw chablis on the menu. My Mom whispered to her, “Mom, it’s pronounced shuh-BLEE” and Grandma snapped, “I GUESS IF I HAVE THE MONEY AND I ORDER SHAB-LISS, THEY’LL GIVE IT TO ME, WON’T THEY?” And she was right.

She would have loved my D. She loved kids who weren’t quiet, who spoke their mind and were funny and lively and could shout along with everyone else when you wanted to get people’s attention. There were always so many people at Grandma’s that the only way you could get a word in edgewise was to shout or stamp your foot or something. D would have fit right in. I can see her now, doting over his bony frame, pulling out item after item from the fridge. “I’ve got some baloney in here, just bought it at the White Barn. There’s some goulash in here, that’s gotta get eat, it’s gettin’ old. Oh, and I just opened a new jar of jelly, you should try that – isn’t that good? Here, have some more mashed potatoes and noodles. My goodness, child, all you do is eat. I don’t know where you put it.” She had as much energy as my D does, I swear.

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