Sometimes, small things can save you. You don't see them coming, don't plan for them, don't dare even hope for them. But, there they are. Small things. Bridges that cross you over.
I've been feeling so melancholy lately. Like my skin doesn't fit. Like my body isn't mine. My body feels like I'm driving somebody else's car. The brakes are spongy. The steering wheel is too loose. One of the blinkers doesn't work properly. The heat is way too hot, way too soon.The air conditioning comes on at random moments, unexpectedly.
Mostly, I've just been in a funk. My hair looks stupid. Where did all those weird cowlicks come from? I had my passport photo taken and the result made me look like Ma Kettle with too much lipstick on. I wake up every morning feeling like Bill Murray in GROUNDHOG DAY. Like....here we go again. I wish that I had something really great to look forward to, like a new Harry Potter book or an Elizabeth Berg novel. Nothing is terribly wrong, but nothing really feels right, either. Spring fever? I dunno.
And then a day like today happens. I have breakfast with my sister and she tells me a really corny, but very funny joke. I feel myself laughing and wonder when I did that last. We talk for two hours about basically nothing, just catching up, but it feels so good to drink excellent coffee at Dugger's Cafe and to see our favorite server, Tyler's kind face. Lemon pancakes. Self explanatory. We part, with plans to see a movie tomorrow.
As I am gathering my notebooks, laptop and good pens to go write, I look down and see two lovely rainbows on the floor. They are made by a tiny sun catcher in the bedroom window. I look at it, remembering Lucy's face when she gifted it to me years ago. God, how I love her face.
I get in the car and decide to listen to the radio instead of my book on tape. Before I can change the channel to NPR, the song "Puttin' On The Ritz" comes on. I stop and sit in my driveway, head on the steering wheel, listening. Many years ago, I took care of a wonderful old soul named Pat as she slowly died. She wanted to die at home, not in a hospital. We'd talked at length about the possibility of an afterlife. We agreed that if it was possible for the dead to contact the living, she'd have the song "Puttin' On The Ritz" play for me randomly. We figured that it was an obscure song. What were the chances that I would hear it unless she sent it? Slim to none. Less than a week after she passed, this song came on. My sister had seen me outside in the front yard of my home and stopped to say hello in her car. We visited for a short while and then as she turned on her car to leave, this song was playing on her radio. Why, hello Pat! I'd never heard it again after that and she's been dead for over a decade. And then, there it is today on my car radio. A day before her death day.
Then, after I thank Pat mentally for stopping by and mop my face, a bright red cardinal comes and sits on the hood of my car. Just perches on my car hood. We make eye contact. It still stays there. I don't want to put the car in reverse, don't want to frighten it away. So, I sit there and stare back. A slow sense of peace fills my heart. Like honey dribbling out of the pointy plastic lid of a honey container. Slowly, I feel my bones settle, my soul go tender. I hear a voice in my head. My mother's voice.
"Let go of the reins. Accept. Be comforted." And I am.
My body feels as if it is mine again. It is an older model, but I know exactly how it drives. I feel warm. Peaceful. Loved. Ready to go out into the world again.
The cardinal flies away. I put the car in reverse and then drive as I head to Towl Park. Towl Park shining in the sun. No runners or dog walkers today. Just me and my park. And peace.