It's almost 4:30 in the morning. I've begun a new writing schedule that involves getting up this early because I don't like myself. No, not really. It's because I've decided to approach this writing thing like a real part-time job. Wait, I might have mentioned that. Yeah, yeah, I did! In my last post! Oh dear God, I need coffee and have not brewed it yet. Anyway, my schedule is two hours a day every day before the kids wake up, and five hours on the weekends that I don't have the kids. I like. I'm a momma first, and I'm still getting the writing done, which was only happening sporadically before.
So when the alarm went off this morning the first thing I thought was, "Need to get up. Need to to get my rough draft notebook." Ok, that's a lie. The first thing I thought was, "Did I see Cameron Diaz in my kitchen last night or was that a dream? Must have been a dream because I can't imagine why she'd need to borrow my cheese grater when she could easily buy one of her own. But maybe she's a cheapskate." It went on like that. But eventually I started thinking about writing and while I was lying there convincing myself to get up I realized, "Hey! I could blog! Blogging is writing! It counts! AND I HAVE INTERNET AT HOME!!!!" This last bit is something that I will probably rejoice over for a while, so my suggestion is that every time you read it take a deep breath and know that my excitement over things like Internet, central air/heat, and movie stars in my kitchen will subside over time.
I haven't written anything too personal in a while, have I? It's mostly just been about condiment sprees and whatnot. I like whatnot. That IS something personal about me. It's just that when I think of personal updates for some reason I automatically think of a romantic update and unless you count the mosquito that sucked the blood out of my ankle, which is the most action I've gotten in a while, then there are no romantic updates.
The kids are good, and things at home are going ok. Grief over the divorce is eeking out in weird ways. Last week when I was at work Chris called to say that he had my child support. It wasn't a bad conversation. He said he had money for me and the kids and I said, "Ok, great thanks," I hung up the phone and then burst into tears. At my desk. Luckily there were no customers in the office. I went over to my coworker Lisa to talk to her about it. She's been divorced before.
"I don't understand, why am I so upset?" I said. "It was a good conversation. It was fine."
"Sometimes that's worse."
I stopped crying and gave her the kind of confused look that you can imagine giving someone who has just told you that good is worse than bad. This conflicts with what we learned in kindergarten. Good is good. Bad is bad. Bad is when you eat finger paints because the colors are pretty and then you throw them up. Good is when your ex husband calls and says that he has your child support. Right?
"When the conversations are civil, or even when they're nice, they remind you of the things you like about him," she explained.
"This is just going to take time. You're gonna be ok, it's just hard to get through, especially the first year. Why don't you go take a walk?"
I went out of the back of the hospital around the hazardous waste dump, which I actually kind of like. It's where those red containers go, the ones that the nurses pitch the needles into after they give you a shot. The hazardous waste dump is where all of the containers go to have their contents incinerated. I just think it's neat to know where they go, and comforting to know that they're not floating in the Gulf of Mexico.
The good thing about crying at a hospital is that it's not considered unusual. Most of the people who go there are emotional. Either they're upset about a dying relative or their own diagnosis, they're worried about a loved one in surgery, or they're happy because someone just had a baby. Let's just say that in the last few months, I've gone outside to cry a couple of times and no one's looked at me funny. It's not like crying at the mall. This is a place of high emotion and grief. I walked outside and let myself cry, not thinking any thoughts in particular. It was just a purge.
This isn't something I do often at work. Most of the time I'm just silly. I think I might have annoyed Audra the other day, in fact. A nurse came in and explained how he had lost his I.D., and then ordered a new one but then found his old one and I directed him towards Audra because she processes the badges. I walked in with him and both of us began to tell his story at the same time. Audra held up her hand and said, "Ok, wait. Start from the beginning."
"In the beginning," I said, "God created light. And it was good."
Audra closed her eyes. "Thank you, Gen."
"Or was it Earth?" I asked, suddenly doubtful. "I don't know, I don't read the Bible. How did all that go?"
"Thank you, Gen, I can take it from here," she reiterated and left me in the wake of my theological confusion.
That's what I'm like most of the time at work. I'm not usually crying out by the hazardous waste dump. Besides, sometimes that place smells horrible. It's not only where used needles go to die, but pieces and parts too. Lungs, spleens, fingers, and random bodily tissues. Sometimes when I walk past that place the stink will stay in my nose for an hour.
Jess, the character I'm writing about, is a medical librarian. She loves literature, but she also loves the pulmonary artery on display in a jar in the library window. It's a warning to everyone about what can go wrong. What went wrong in her marriage is not visible. She can't remove it and study it in a jar. She can only get rid of the things that remind her of it, which is partly way she's having the garage sale.
Her driveway is aligned with power tools she can't identify, a folding table with glass vases she never used, mismatched dishes, and the rice steamer that she got at her wedding shower, which she used twice in ten years. She arranged these things and others on either side of her driveway, and when she walks down the middle of it, it reminds her of walking down the aisle on her wedding day.
I'm going to try hard as hell to change the story just enough so that no one reads this thing and says, "Oh my God, she's writing about Chris and the kids!" I don't mind writing about myself and my own grief. I just don't want to libel them. So Jess's kids, her ex husband, and her in-laws are different. They're fun to write about, actually. But the grief is the same, and some of the circumstances. I did have a garage sale to get rid of stuff that neither Chris nor I wanted anymore and I was tired of looking at it. And the kids' hard questions are in the story, but then they are questions that children of divorce generally ask.
I'm going to go work on that now. It was lovely to blog at home!