Stories from sick beds


Bare tree branches cross the patch of gray sky I can see from the couch, through a break in the curtains. They’re tossing in a wind I can’t feel, and clouds are scuttling across the sky behind them. A chick-a-dee balances on the fence, feathers ruffled, rocking now and again in a sudden gust.

I spent Monday home sick, reading LeCarre and watching shows I haven’t watched in a while on Hulu and trying to decide if I’m really hungry enough to step over that ferret gate. Alaska sleeps in the blanket at my feet; Jasmine digs at the pillows under my head, bites at the tender part of my ankles. Some days it’s a miracle she doesn’t get kicked across the floor.

And when the myriad of names in LeCarre’s ‘Tinker, Tailor’ have me too confused, I watch the weather cross my patch of sky.

Sunshine comes out sometime in the afternoon, and I wake up enough to pull the curtains fully open, so we all three are sleeping in the sun. Only Jasmine wakes up at my movement, and we are two, sleeping in the sun. Alaska curls adorably, a paw dropped over her nose, head turned up, soft belly exposed in the complete comfort and relaxation of sleep. Jasmine drops off the couch, climbs the fireplace screen just for fun.

I hear the school bus stop at the corner, and voices fill the quiet afternoon. They’re playing some sort of hiding and surprising game next door, and the girls are screaming; a small boy darts along my side of the fence to pop out on the other side, earns another scream for his efforts.

But by evening it’s cloudy again, rain clouds filling the darkening sky. He leaves the door open when he comes home, and a strangely balmy breeze fills the house. The children are fighting now, one calling after the other, giving the cold shoulder. Alaska’s wandered off, looking for something to eat.

Pieces of story float through my mind like the clouds, but they’re just that: pieces.

I cross the room sometime after dusk has fallen, and they’ve disappeared.

Children’s voices still call in the warm, blustery dark. I imagine crumpling pages, tossing them away, the paper only half-filled.

Stories from sickbeds, I think, don’t always need to be told.

 

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