Another mist-drenched morning. The dogs are very calm, probably because all the clouds come down to earth muffle extraneous neighborhood noise. Except, of course, the helicopter that nearly buzzed us last night. It sounded low enough to take off a few roofs. Both kids came out of their rooms, wondering what the hell; the dogs were anxious for a bit, glancing in my direction to see how they should take the event.
Wonder what was up with that. And I’m slightly amused by everyone looking at me to see if they should worry about an Unexpected Event. Of course, that’s part of the essence of motherhood–and there was the time I, as a chaperone, stood up on a bus of fourth-graders beginning to spool themselves up on a field trip and hissed, “When it is time to panic I will let you know.”
Peace was restored, the troublemakers in the back were model citizens for the rest of the ride, and I was much in demand for class trips after that.
So. It’s Thursday. The Marked is on sale, and Sons of Ymre #1 is due for release later this month. Which means my own brand of panic will be in full bloom; release days always put me in a state. So far, February’s been an…interesting month. January seemed to last forever; this particular calendar-division isn’t far behind. I keep saying, “You know, last year…? I think?” and one of the kids will say, “Mum, that was last week.”
I mean, I’ve known all my life time is subjective, but this is ridiculous.
Perhaps some of the slipperiness of the fourth dimension lately comes from a certain form of completely accidental vengeance. The thing about time, and about surviving, is that sooner or later one outlasts a few things. Say, for example, that the Universe serves up a great deal of karma to someone who tormented you mercilessly when you were young and therefore temporarily helpless. (Though when you’re under eighteen and trapped it doesn’t feel temporary. Far from.)
Now, self-satisfied social mores might bleat that one isn’t supposed to feel any satisfaction from such an event, especially if one was born female and ruthlessly battered into being a polite, perfect victim because that serves the interest of entrenched powers. But watching karma (also known as “consequences”) come around the mountain like a freight train to paste a long-ago abuser is…well, it’s something.
It’s something indeed.
So time has lost most of its meaning, I’m enjoying my coffee on a quiet morning, and every once in a while the thought, “Huh, I survived,” drifts through the warp and weft of my concentration. For most of my life I never even compassed that I might. My own survival was invisible, because it did not occur to me that it was possible. And now I’m here.
I suppose I could always be so calm in disasters because I assumed I was already dead and most of my “life” was just marking time waiting for the cosmos to notice and update the paperwork. As a coping mechanism, was it ideal? Hardly. Useful? Very. Effective? In various ways, yes.
And now, in this the third year of pandemic, I look out my office window to see the fog pressing between cedars. I listen to the dogs breathe as they wait, half-napping, for morning walkies. If this is a victory, it’s a quiet one. The plague might still get me, and if it doesn’t the ongoing fascist coup (what, you thought that was over? Ha!) probably will. But I’ve lived long enough to see the muscled arm of cosmic consequence administer a well-deserved bitchslap, and I didn’t have to lift a finger.
At the moment, it’s enough. And my coffee, sipped slowly, tastes very good indeed.