Friday, October 12, 2012

an October evening

The weather has changed. Until a couple of days ago, by noon, the slow-rising sun would burn off the fog we've been having and pour in, abating the autumnal chill, and I would feel the need to open windows. Overnight, our deck became a mosaic of rust-colored maple leaves as big as doormats. The sky assumed the color of steel. I feel an indolence, a slowing, a shift in the direction of my productivity.

A couple of nights ago, while Abbott was at camp for the week and Cal and Alexi were at hockey, I made a meal to take and share with a friend who has a newborn baby. Beef stroganoff. I had planned to roast a chicken, but started craving the combination of noodles, meat and mushrooms as soon as I took in the mood of the day. After grinning at the beautiful baby girl until she got hungry, I plated the food while my friend nursed her baby. There was a pleasure in inhabiting her kitchen. Rummaging through the vintage china, each piece unique, choosing just the right one for each of us. For the first time, I noticed her husband’s old college ID held in place on the fridge with a magnet; studied the picture of him looking so young. I stood barefoot, as I do, just as I had in my kitchen an hour earlier.

As we ate, we caught up on what had happened - the mundane and the startling - since we’d seen each other the week before. Our time at the table was brief, as it is in any house with a newborn. After the table was cleared, we bundled up for a walk. We strolled the quiet streets illuminated by the occasional streetlight. One home we passed had skeleton bone shaped lights outlining the front door. There were cartoonishly thick cottony cobwebs draped over ornamental shrubs and through tree branches, as there are in every neighborhood in America the weeks before Halloween. One window displayed a crayon drawing of a cat and a witch on a broom. As we walked, we exchanged stories of times before we were friends. I tried to describe how I found out I had breast cancer as a 28 year old, so many years ago, and the first thing that came to mind was how little I remember about that moment. I can smell the plastic of the receiver next to my face as I was on the phone with my surgeon, and picture the shoes I was wearing, that I stared at as we talked, and feel the texture of the beige formica counter I leaned against. All that remains of the conversation, however, is the melodic Southern drawl of my surgeon uttering the word ‘cancer’ and then the phrase ‘this is not a death sentence.’ I don’t remember the subsequent phone calls I must have made to family and friends.

When I think back to this night, I’ll remember the friendship, the way the baby slept the second we were out the door, and the complexity of personal archaeology.

8 comments:

Purple Flowers said...

I look forward to your posts more than you know. Thank you for your writing and photos!

Chloe said...

"personal archaeology". i love that.

also- these newer, longer posts are something wonderful. they very observantly portray life.

xo

likeschocolate said...

I always enjoy the pictures you paint with your words. Thank you for sharing with us!

Penelope P. said...

Have I ever commented and told you how much I enjoy reading your blog? You have such a way with words and you are a talented photographer. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your family life with us. Much love Penny L in Dorset u.lxxxx

country girl said...

As always, thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts with us here.
xoxo

beth lehman said...

lecia, i have read this post several times... i love the voice you have and the poignancy of the experiences you share. something about this one tugged at me... the comfort in a friend and their kitchen, remembering the diagnosis of cancer, gratitude for where you are right now. i think that last bit is what brings me back again and again...

Josephine said...

Lecia, I've been dropping by your blog for quite a few years, and, shame on me, rarely comment.

You have a special way with words, and I've long loved your way of storytelling. It has been a real treat to read these longer posts of recent weeks!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing here.

KPiep said...

Such a beautiful post! I love it when you share moments like this.