Red Bucket

5 Jul

i don’t know if it was at this exact moment that life congealed and mostly made sense.

i was on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor. working the grime out of the little corner that houses

water and food bowls for my cat and dog. a gangly muppet of a spider drops from its messy web to walk a large

wobbly circle. My right hand holding the old blue sponge, dripping, pauses over the red bucket. with steaming

hot water condensing on my wrist and tiny clustered bubbles of earth friendly cleanser making pops sounding

more like plips, i watch, bemused, at the herky-jerky stalking of such a small little being. closing the loop, it

crawls back up and takes its place in the crisscrossed lashing of web threads and settles.

thoughts of things spill: this move i’m about to make, i know nothing of what will actually happen. only that i am

leaving this place because this year of 37 is written in my mind to be a good year. and for that, i make decisions

that would usually not befit my way of thinking. i decide to move into my mother’s house that she has moved out

of.  she’s decided to stop paying her mortgage.  it is nonsense.  she’s had the home four years and with all of her

timely payments she has scarcely made a dent in the interest on her home loan.  she is getting older.  by no

means elderly, but by no means re-entering the job market.  financial security will give her ease in this half of her


i will squat there.

a squatter. until the bank takes it away. i will pay utilities. i will make decisions about life. i will save money. i will pay

debts. i have decided this year is a good year. i am leaving the barely functioning, quasi dump on the hill and feel

only partial pangs. i could stay. i am only partially happy here. i ask every once in a while why i am moving out.

this, i realize, is more tiny tingles of fear than the reality of leaving a good thing. leaving alice’s–my tiny studio

with an orchard, good neighbors, and a swimming pool–was leaving a good thing. leaving the dump is an act. A

choice. An action. while brave on the one hand, it is, on the other hand, only tiny in the scope of letting go of

things that don’t work for me. when the floor is finished and the house tidied, i shower, dress, and await the

potential renter and my hobbit landlord.

at 10:02 he knocks, announcing that she is here and will be coming through in a moment. i survey his familiarity.

the rumpled thrift store blue jeans with paint spatters, the navy blue polo shirt, the navy blue polar fleece, the

thick silver chain i imagine is excruciating every time it gets tangled in the rangy blond crest of chest hair

reaching out of his collar, the well worn hunter green fedora with the two feathers that look tousled and licked by

his old orange tabby cat, and the strange spherical blue cyst, on par for the monochrome of his outfit, that hangs

on the right side of his face in the crows feet of his blue eyes. his uncomfortably yellow hair and eyelashes.

yellow. the way I would convey blond with a yellow crayola in kindergarten. i made my mom’s hair this color on

homemade mother’s day cards for years.

i meet sondra and her aged dog petunia. wes runs out and sniffs petunia’s backside. petunia bristles. wes tries to

bristle. petunia pees. wes pees on top of petunia’s. i ask her to leave petunia outside so my cat will not be afraid

or maimed. petunia isn’t very friendly. sondra seems soft and earthy. i leave after introductions, down to the

coffee shop for a yerba maté with agave and rice milk. i chat with a mother and her daughter whom i will fashion

a wedding cake for next year. i drink my tea halfway down and fill the rest with more rice milk and drive to the

park where i take wes for a walk.

there are many older people there today walking. wes is particularly charming and they want to pet him. my

heart rate keeps going down. i am not getting the exercise i hoped for. two thirds of the way through our first

loop, under the arch of two oak trees and next to tender green ferns, we run into an older gentlemen with a cute

dog that wants to sniff wes. wes obliges and they make the nose to butt to nose to butt loop that dogs make. the

man and i talk about dogs from shelters. we agree that ours are lovely and conclude that adopting a dog has been

a good choice. he tells me that his sheltie mix came with her share of problems and it took her a few months to

“cut the crap”. but what he says next is what gives me tears in my eyes and lightness of heart: it’s like humans.

you gotta get rid of baggage and then get love. we smile. bid each other good days and walk in opposite



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