Near quarter of six on December second
by Wanda Morrow Clevenger
It’s near quarter of six. The pills working in tandem now, I don’t wake up three and four times every night . . . or cry as often. Yesterday I woke to a 65 degree house, and with the fan running in the bedroom you can guess how much colder it was in there. I turned the fan off and was still so cold I knew something was wrong. I changed the furnace filter that day and thought I had got the doors shut right—we both know how difficult those doors are—but checked anyway and I had worn light pajamas to bed so was shivering in the far back basement. The furnace doors were shut even and tight (it wasn’t my fault at least) and then I remembered that the thermostat works on batteries and lord knows when they were last changed. But didn’t the thing beep or flash a message when the batteries were low? I got the lid off and found some new heavy duty batteries but when that didn’t work I took them out and saw a tiny label warning that only Duracell copper top batteries should be used. I found the only two new copper tops in the house and put them in and put the lid back on and nothing happened so took them out and tried the original pair and nothing happened and after switching a couple more times I lost track of which batteries were new and which batteries were original and then started crying. Because that’s what I do now. I was half-crying when I called Dave (Mr. Taxi) and canceled my ride to see you today—he was probably already on the road and I felt bad for that. I’d have to wait another hour before calling Kufa to come out and it was too early for insulin and breakfast so I got dressed and cried and hated that I couldn’t remember a day when I didn’t cry. Kufa sent a man out within an hour of getting my message and he replaced a small circuit board. The pre-crying me would have commented on how these things only happen in the middle of the night in the middle of winter and we’d both have laughed but nothing is funny anymore. Last time I laughed was when I stumbled onto an internet fart-dubbed video of televangelist Robert Tilton. I don’t laugh at fart jokes. I’m not ten. But this video was truly a work of fart art. Just in case I needed a good laugh, I saved the link but haven’t watched again. It takes so much less effort to cry. And I had a dream this morning, the kind that comes on just before you wake up, drifting in and out sleep—hypnopompic, and the thing is I haven’t had a dream in a really long time, not one that I remember anyway, and I remembered all of this one. The boys and I and your sister were all sitting at a round table and you were pacing about with a handful of papers (legal farm papers, deeds or something) but your sister didn’t look like your sister, she looked like one of the actresses on my soap. She was allied with you over the legal papers. Nate was logically pleading with you to reconsider. Nick was reading from his notes and his phone. I was begging you to listen. You had faraway eyes and couldn’t hear us, but you were listening to your sister and when I woke up I wondered why she was in the dream—maybe because when she was alive she stood up for me once. Who knows . . . The whole dream felt hopeless, but aren’t dreams suppose to be the worst case scenario so you can wake up relieved it was all only a dream.
The day before the furnace fail and the in-and-out dream, a note came from my Aunt Wanda. On three small pieces of pink stationary she wrote how nice and loving and hardworking and kind you were. She wrote of compassion and hopefulness. She wrote of how when I was in the hospital and everyone thought I’d die that you told her I meant everything to you. I sat down and cried all that anyone could ever cry, then stood up and stuck the pink pages to the refrigerator door with a vintage Santa face magnet. It’s there among all the other important refrigerator reminders, except it’s the only one that is pink and hopeful.
Wanda Morrow Clevenger has published over 293 pieces of work in 112 print and electronic publications in the past seven years. View a sampling here: http://wlc-wlcblog.blogspot.com/; and here: http://about.me/wandamorrowclevenger
Her debut book This Same Small Town in Each of Us (Edgar & Lenore Publishing House; 2011): http://edgarallanpoet.com/This_Same_Small_Town.html
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