A Tire Swing Story is a bite-sized "imagining" inspired by an object I discover while wandering. It could be a curbside trash gem or a message sprayed on a wall. A lost mitten, or an antique store find. Anything goes. I photograph the object and post them together, the story and its inspiration. There will be a new story every Monday and Wednesday. On Fridays, I'll discuss writing, life, love, and coffee. (In no particular order and maybe all at once.)

Monday, January 17, 2011

I am a middle-aged woman in a long purple coat and a white hat with a pom-pom, that I happen to like despite the slight ridiculousness of the thing. 
I am walking along a sidewalk that is encrusted with snow and murderously slippery. In my left hand is a cane with a rubber stopper on the bottom. Between steps, I lean on the cane. My breath is coming fast and creating little puffs of fog around my head.

I've been at this for over an hour. The same walk that used to take me fifteen minutes.

Gus, the neighbor said he'd be happy to do my grocery shopping. And I know my daughter, Rachel would like nothing more than to bundle me into the car and bring me herself. Still, as long as I can walk, I will go to the store. Even if it takes me the whole damn day. 

Halfway there, I stop on a bench to rest. My knees are shaking more than usual and my chest feels full of fire. In my panic, I allow myself to wonder if today is the day I don't make it, when I turn around and return home. Accept defeat and crawl into bed.

In the nearest shop is a replica of a dinosaur head. Its huge jagged mouth is open, taking up most of the window. 

Rachel's been bringing me books with titles like: "Healing Visualizations", and "Fighting Cancer from Within." She's also taken to giving me bunches of greens the size of funeral arrangements.

"Eating green vegetables helps to remove free radicals from your body, Mom," she says.

Did this dinosaur know when her time was at an end? Did she feel her extinction coming as her world changed and the blood in her veins began to warm? Did she lay down in the ferns and accept her fate? 

And then I think that maybe this dinosaur's mouth isn't open in some display of predatory strength, but in a last mournful howl. And this howl I understand. We all need to howl before we go. 

Using my cane, I push myself off the bench to standing. I continue on, slowly, to the store.

1 comment:

  1. Your story is bringing the sick mother and the helping and hoping for the best daughter so much alive. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story. You are so talented with words.