I started cleaning like a whirling dervish.
It’s what I do to pacify the pain, to escape the barreling train of emotion that chases me down when I hear things I’ve anticipated hearing, but seem sudden, out of nowhere.
Why does that happen?
It’s like a loved one who’s in hospice: you know they are going to die, but when they do, it’s like they were just walking to get their morning cup of coffee, healthy as could be and they get hit by a car. Sudden. Piercing. Fucking gut wrenching. Weird, huh?
That’s what it felt like last night.
I knew I had to stop cleaning otherwise I’d Swiffer my soul right out of my center. I got in the shower instead.
I don’t remember washing my hair, but I did, because, I could smell my leave-in conditioner as I blow-dried my hair.
I had nowhere to go, but I primped like I was going on a date. I even shaved my legs. I put on my strapless bra and the orange dress I wear when I’m feeling playful. I painted on my eyes: the ones that make me feel like I have x-ray vision—that make men squirm, like I can see through to their thoughts or something.
I called my mom. I didn’t want to be alone. She helps me feel surrounded.
I knew the phone call had to come to an end. I opened the refrigerator; the bottle of Prosecco we were supposed to drink on Mother’s Day stood out next to the whole milk and beet juice, like it wanted me as much as I wanted it.
“I think I’m going to open that bottle we never drank and have a glass.”
“I think you should, honey. And be sure to toast to yourself, to all you’ve accomplished. Rebecca, toast to your sadness and your grief, too.”
So, I did.
I sat on the couch in my sassy dress, with my tiger-eyes and I toasted to all of it:
To the tragedies, the triumphs, the losses, the gains, the beginnings, the endings, the unknowns, the grief, the joy, the mistakes, the lessons, to myself and to the life I’ve created and the life I’ve yet to create.