At a time when we were unaware, Rocco chose a plastic bin of mine on the floor to lift his leg over and urinate on. He is a well trained dog and this was unexpected–so unexpected, he kept his secret for what might have been an entire day or two. The bin was one of several in a plastic storage unit that contained every note, card, letter, photo, and sentimental piece of paper (or pipecleaner) I had saved since I was in the third grade. So Rocco chose to not only urinate inside the house, he selected the only spot that could desicrate my emotional well being. (Other than my blankies).
At the top of the pile in the bin was my mother’s obituary. It appears the obituary took the first hit. Urine spilled across the obit and soaked into the edges of everything else stacked below it. A small pool formed in the corner and slowly expanded for the amount of time it took for me to notice. When I did, some items were still damp, while others were completely dry. They all had the unbearable stench that made me plug my nose.
I am positive that I was making the same exact sour faced expression that my mom always did. You’d have to ask Dan, who witnessed my discovery, but it really is one of those effortless abilities from sharing her genes.
Then fifteen minutes later, after I had inspected everything and stacked the bins safely lifted on top of Raine’s play table, I turned around to the sound of all of the bins crashing to the floor with everything inside of them spilling out. All of my f*ing precious s*it that wasn’t peed on, that I had carefully spent weeks organizing into g*d*mn f*ing chronological order, from my first f*ing baby photo until this recent f*ing laminated s*itty piece of paper that meant my mother was f*ing dead—
You get the idea. It wasn’t “Oh no! My kid spilled my glass of wine,” or “Dang, I locked my keys in the car again!” It was a torturous built-up reaction of anger that had been deep within me for months.
It was EPIC.
But it was all in my head. I didn’t dare let it out completely! To myself, I cursed every curse word in every combination I could think of, grabbed at the collection of matte, gloss, cardstock, newspaper, and notebook paper (and pipe cleaner) and threw them in heaps into the bins, carried each one upstairs stomping and sweating, to a closet in my office, where I slammed the door when I was done and yelled in a loud whisper at my mom for not being alive.
I marched into the dining room and opened a bottle of black label, and took a giant swig of it. Then I stomped across the house to the side door and burst outside, slamming the door behind me, OF COURSE.
I walked down the driveway and stopped, standing and looking up at the night sky with my arms crossed. I was fuming. But what could I do?
The sky is different in Illinois than it is in Oregon. There are no grandeous mountains here, nor the canopy of trees–cypress, fir, sequoia, pine, or cottonwood–Everything that I loved. Without those visual cues, the sky looks like it is closer, hovering at a shorter distance above me than I had experienced before. In this way, it is comforting. I really need that sensation–that the incredible expanse, with its myriad stars and planets and galaxies, vast and beyond comprehension, unknowable—that I am nearer to thee. I take solace in moments of feeling that I am just a single speck of humanity, and having my tiny moment in the great infinity to live a life. I am made of the same dust and spark as everyone else, with a connection to them, I feel. I am nearer more than I am apart, even in these moments when the isolation of what I feel is so staggering. Who is to say that our connection and being nearer ends when we die? Even if it does, I would still give everything inside me to get what I get. It is small, but it is enough. Anger and all.