Monday, February 16, 2015

calling up from the valley of strangeness

It rests in the valley of strangeness. I am tossing brightly colored bell peppers stuffed in a thin plastic bag into the cart and he asks, "Is that for your house or mine?" I pause caught off guard.
It's not only our new reality bursting through that throws me, it's also the oddity of us shopping together at all. If I can help it I don't shop. When it became clear that BC's job was happening I had 3 worries, #2 "shit! who's going to do the shopping?!".

I would dare say the grocery store is the one place I show the most lasting of the damage. The last place I think to take back control of my life. I can't cover the emotions and/or impulses that arise as the last of the ceiling of my old life breaks off exposing blue sky above me.
Like the day I suddenly realized I could buy jello if I wanted to and there was nothing he do about it anymore. It was later at home placing 15 boxes of lime jello in my cupboard that I thought to ask the most obvious of questions, do I even like jello?

I understand it is not normal for a grown woman to walk into a store and have to remind herself she can buy whatever she wants as long as she can afford it. At first the thought makes me smile, then I see the stupidity in it and the guilt and embarrassment creep in.

If I can recover form that we have food, if not I turn around and leave the store empty handed. So for years BC has been our shopper. He doesn't ask why and he doesn't question my sporadic contributions to the household or the way I cling to buying food from alternative sources like the co-op and the farmer's markets.    

But BC asked if I would come along shopping and knowing he was leaving again I agreed. In fact I agreed twice. But I should never be allowed in Costco. I am completely useless among the giant isles. There is just too much there to make any sense of any one thing. I follow him and stand looking lost as he asks me questions: do you need bread? cheese? chicken?

I don't know, do I?

It's the same muteness produced by the damn of words lodging in my mind when I am asked a question I can't answer.

BC asks me to get laundry detergent. I stand in front of the row of boxes looking for something I recognize. Then I watch the other customers picking theirs and I look in their carts and wonder about their life based on packages of pre cooked chicken and frozen ready make potatoes. BC circles back for me, picks out the detergent he asked me to get, and we more on.

I watch him watching me. I know he wants to say something to me about all this but he doesn't know what. Honestly neither do I.

When we are done he lets me surf on the back of the charts while he runs dragging it full sprint through the parking lots. People younger than us stop to give us dirty looks.

And after I had spent most of the morning in bed with a horrible headache, and I shopped with him twice, he took me up the canyon. We hiked in the shadows. Across ice. Over mud. Up through the scrub oaks until we broke out onto the ridge. There we could see straight into the twisted valley below us. He stood. I sat. And separately together, listened to the calls of the search and rescue teams combing the mountain for the lost man they were sent to search for.

me? I believe I know exactly where they should be looking...

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