Siege Diaries 4/30/2020


Time passes so quickly, yet so slowly.

On this day 71 years ago my parents were married.  Twenty-five years later, they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.  I was seven, and purchased them a commemorative bell at a Gold Circle store.  I have it on my shelf here in my office, beside the wedding cake topper I mentioned in an earlier post.

My husband and I have long since passed that same milestone.  On July 20th we’ll celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary.  It doesn’t seem like it could possibly be that long.

Yet the days themselves in this time of isolation seem to stretch on forever.  They’re flooded with unrelenting tragedy, punctuated by bursts of senseless rage outside, while inside the safety of our house there is a throbbing dullness of ache, punctuated by small, everyday joys that perhaps might have gone unnoticed before.

This morning, as I stirred, my cat Spitfire climbed onto my chest to purr.  I was a little restless, though, so she moved to the pillow beside my head, and I could bury my face in her soft, warm fur while I worried about the country of my birth.

At lunch, I enjoyed a brisket sub from Firehouse, a treat I hadn’t had in many months.  It was caloric, but I didn’t care.  I finished the second half for dinner.

I read a couple of short stories by Chekhov, an author I knew of, but had never sampled until now.  I watched a ballet choreographed to the second movement of the Shostakovich Piano Concerto #1, and reveled in the beauty of movement. I watched another episode of Deutschland 86 , indulging a little nostalgia for a world I inhabited but had only read about.

I am restless.  I want to fix things.  I want things to be all right. Things are mostly all right with me, and I want that for the world, and silently scream that I can’t make it so.  I live a life that is a reflection of my old life, and I find comfort in the things I remember from that life, and wonder which of them I will enjoy again.  I try to convince myself that this shadow existence is a gift, even if it was not what I expected.  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes it doesn’t.

But music is eternal, or at least what counts for eternal in human existence.  Others have read the same words I read today for over a hundred years. The events of the past are real–for better or worse– and cannot be taken away.  Those which have not happened will not hasten any faster if I worry harder.

But the soft fur of a purring cat–and the constant presence of a man I have not ceased to love in over 29 years–just as my parents devoted themselves to each other for over fifty years– is what is here now.  It is a gift beyond price.  It will have to do.