Wednesday, September 12, 2007
One Wall Made Of Windows
The man who murdered my godmother gave me a wedding present she had purchased for me days before her death. Nobody knew he had killed her at that point, but my family suspected (he made it look like a suicide). Nonetheless, when he called with the offer of the present, my soon-to-betrothed and eventually like everyone else soon-to-be divorced drove during a thunderstorm late into the evening to her old house to pick this gift up. She met this creepy dude in the personal ads (this was years before the internet and match.com and its other little friends) and there was something of a stigma attached to this sort of behavior, an aura of desperation that had forced you into writing what I consider the most difficult form, your life and needs meted out in a tiny little box designed to lure your true love. I do not know what she wrote, but I do know that I adored her. As a child, she'd hold me for hours and tell me about how I'd have to beat the boys off with sticks. She'd tell me about her students, ones who didn't have enough money for soap, who came from homes where they were beat and burnt and hurt beyond all reason. To speak to a child as if she were an adult about real things is, I think, the greatest gift. She'd been through the ringer, shock treatments for depression, pills, hands bandaged and ragged from washing them so much. She did not hide this from me, and I was not afraid.
But I was afraid driving through the storm with someone I was way too young to marry to pick up God only knows what from a man my daddy called Ace. Daddy was not a sarcastic man and this was as close as he got to insult. I stepped inside the huge house she had, one wall entirely made of windows, and started to shiver after I saw the clown doll that Ace had given her for her birthday. She'd been so happy to find him, even if his tastes in presents was a little off! That clown looked as friendly as John Wayne Gacy, and Ace handed over the present. We took our leave without a moment's hesitation. She and Ace had recently married in a secret ceremony nobody was invited to, and she signed the card from both of them. I opened the package right away, and it wasn't like any other gift she'd ever given me. Most of those had been beautiful dresses or jewelry. This was a white hand-held blender. Right then, I realized that marriage was going to be a lot harder than I thought. I tried to use it in honor of her, but cooking is not my thing. I kept her card, the last bits of her writing I have. But what happened to the blender, those sharp blades that I cut myself on one too many times, is anyone's guess.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I was right not to be afraid of any thief but myself, who will end by leaving me nothing." Katherine Anne Porter
Drinking memoir suggestion: Food and Loathing Betsy Lerner
Benedictions and Maledictions