(friends… i’m in the mountains now, surrounded by your humbling prayers for my mother and finding myself silenced. in this silence, deb emerges, bird winged high, and she writes this prose and i share it with you… may God ‘wrap around you’ as you’ve wrapped your spirits around my mum and me)

I managed to get away with pumping gas in my pyjamas the other morning because I know my daughter is old enough to send inside to pay with my credit card. My winter coat is long, but a woman does have some pride. Even in the bitter cold .

I’m noticing something about myself , other than the beginnings of jowls and the stiffening of my hip joints.
Something that I’d assumed was my artistic tendencies toward solitude and am afraid to admit might lean more towards avoidance. With a little self-righteousness thrown in on particularly hormonal days.

The season of more inside than out , quick waves to neighbours and snow days that cancel and postpone are an excuse for me to think I’ve got things figured out thank you very much.

I start to think I might have issues when I’m obsessing more about the house on the corner with the Christmas lights still on than the fact that I sit in my car feigning a sudden urgent need to clean the cupholders of errant bobby pins and American change so I can avoid the man next door as he comes out to go check the mail.

He travels more than he is home and his marriage no longer exists and the property could use a little maintenance . I want him to feel as bound to keeping up appearances as I do. That’s why it’s easier to stew and huff than it is to greet him when he decides to shovel his sidewalk and ours as well. He has a smile that catches the light on the cloudiest of days sending beams of joy deep into the hardest of hearts.

I imagine he knows something I don’t and maybe that’s what ticks me off the most. I don’t actually want to pick every weed and bring in the recycle bins before they blow up against the garage across the way or run out in the rain and bring in all the chair cushions and pool towels . But it’s easier than wondering what you might think of me if I don’t.

There is a junk bin on the driveway on the other side. The side where my best friend no longer lives. Or is alive. Her husband is engaged to be married and the house is going to go up for sale soon and I’m not sure of all the last minute staging renovations because , well it’s winter. And I’m rushing in and out of course. It suits me fine to snap the shutters shut when the darkness at dinner comes upon us like it was suddenly switched on. It catches me in the kitchen where my window faces his , but the other she is there and I’m doing this petty thing. This holed up while I can until while sudden squalls and unpredicted white outs co-operate with my stubbornness.

I have to laugh of course when I change into my pj’s when it’s still quite early in the evening really, and take the dog out for a quick walk to the mailbox. The black sky , the icy air on my cheeks, the heavy quiet like a question , like someone is calling me and I gaze up with eyes watering from the cold and the awe. I am comforted like this. Maybe this is what if feels to have God wrap around you.

From around the corner my neighbour appears. His puppy doesn’t know that I have a winter wall built around me , and her leash gets all tangled around my legs and of course one has to laugh. This man standing before me is so clearly in love and living in the madness of hope that he can only assume that I am too. He would never think less of me because he doesn’t know how to . He refuses to understand how being alone and afraid can be a better than taking chances and seeking joy.

It’s easier to hug him and agree than it is to wonder what he might think of me if I told him that I wish I could be so sure.

I need a few more dark nights, but I’m learning.

*join me here for imperfect prose, wednesday evening*