From my next-door neighbor, whose pet program just got summarily cancelled by the college administration: "Look, when you were away we accepted these beautiful flowers that were delivered for you, and of course we didn't know why they were sent but then I heard something through the grapevine about your mom and I'm so sorry, Sally and I really enjoyed the flowers when they were fresh but at least you can see the card now, should I just drop them on your porch? [Pause.] I didn't wake you, did I?"
From my favorite adjunct, who is not being rehired for next year, and whose thick Eastern European accent you must imagine as you read: "I hope you are at peace." [Blink.] "I mean, you are not waking up in the middle of the night, saying to yourself, 'I wish I had...,' are you?"
No, no, I'm not. I'm watching the snow fall and wondering who I know, that I can call, who might have good news. Because my department, heck, my institution, and my family, and many of my friends, are all suffering from big blows too. So much sympathy needing to be expressed, so much sitting quietly with other sad people.
It's strange being home. Both Beaker and I have been away so much of the fall that the house had really gone all to heck. This weekend we managed to reclaim the kitchen and install a giant, giant bookcase that was forced on us by friends, but I still haven't touched my New York luggage or the accumulated bills, which together occupy all the floor space in the foyer. Boxes of my mother's stuff are tucked into a corner of my office; the bag we picked up from the hospital is in the kitchen, waiting to be laundered.
I wish we had time to just relax here. This town, this house, have become home, finally. But Beaker's heading out on business again tomorrow, and there's Christmas shopping, and seeing probably both families at Christmas. Not to mention getting our fucking butts in gear to move to fucking California right after New Year's. Plus, the angel of death has another big chance to tap me on the shoulder next Monday.
I've decided not to go to the workshop next week. I haven't told the organizers yet (I will tomorrow); of course I'll explain, but the full truth would sound like I was stretching.