Monday, April 09, 2018

I recall the yellow cotton dress foaming like a wave on the ground around your knees

Nine years ago, spring was exactly like this.

And by exactly like this, I mean, it wasn't. Month after month, it was cold and grey. It was supposed to be spring. It was officially spring. And yet it was relentlessly cold and grey.

We kept waiting for spring, and it kept not arriving.

I remember this specifically because nine years ago I was pregnant, and didn't have enough clothing for the endless cold.

I remember this specifically because nine years ago in April, my dad attempted suicide. And nine years ago in May, he took his life.

By May, the weather was gorgeous. Azalea and rhododendron bushes were in full bloom, drenching us with color. The day my dad disappeared was warm, sunny, lush.

My mom called to say he'd disappeared and I remember thinking, "But it's too beautiful a day to die."

But the too beautiful so long to get here. My parents went to Hawaii that year, to visit a dear friend. It was a bad year in Hawaii--unseasonably cold, no sun.

I wonder if if Dad just couldn't hold on any longer. Sunshine, and with it hope, arrived too late.

I'm not suicidal, but I'm extremely affected by quantity and quality of light. I hate the cold, but it's the light I can't manage without.

We've had so many Dementor breeding days, where the sun refuses to shine. The time change helped, because now it's light later. But so many days, we have no sun, just a pale, too-bright glare.

When the sun comes out, everything changes.

Last Friday it was both warm and sunny. Every parent I'd ever met, it seemed, was at the park with their kids. It was glorious. I felt alive, I felt hopeful.

Then Saturday it was grim and cold again. There were snowflakes.

Our school had their annual fundraiser, for which I was volunteering, and I couldn't get dressed. The dress I'd planned to wear would now have to be worn with tights. My tights only came up so far, and then there was this little strip of my middle that pooched above, and you could see it with my fitted dress and it was all lowering my self esteem and anyway it just physically felt terrible.

After many rejected outfits and significant decline in enthusiasm on my part, India pulled out one of my favorite dresses, which my friend Leigh purchased for me at an estate sale last summer. Perfect.

Seriously. One day Leigh called and said she only had 15 minutes to stop in and she wanted to drop off three pieces of clothing she'd bought for me. And they were all this amazing.

Yes my picture is a little blurry but you get the general idea. People asked if I wore it because it looks like cherry blossoms and I was all, "I wore it because it was too cold to be naked and I literally couldn't bear any other item in my closet."

OK, I said a toned-down version and didn't bring up nudity with fellow parents I don't even know.

But my lord, the drama trauma of getting dressed anymore. This is too cold. This is too shiny. This is too tight that is too short this is too this and that is too that and REALLY THE PROBLEM IS THAT WINTER WILL NOT END.

On Sunday I managed to force one kid out the door to the park, where she ran and played and I planted myself in the sun, standing shoulders up around my ears and arms pressed to my sides in my wool sweater and hood and down coat, face turned skyward like a desperate sunflower.

I understand that it's not particularly sophisticated to be unable to remember a different state. When it rains, it feels to me like it's been raining my entire life. When I'm sick, I'm so immersed in it I cannot remember how it feels to be well.

And when I'm cold, I can't recall how it feels to be warmed by the sun. When I think of last summer, I can visualize what I was wearing; I just can't remember how it felt.

I used to think my problem was the cold. It's not. I's the light.

I mean, I resent the hell out of the cold. But it's the sun I'm desperate for. I just want some sunshine.

And also if I could put my coat in the closet and then not take it out again for many many many months that would be kind of perfect as well.


  1. I was literally standing in my backyard on Saturday having this exact thought. When it's cold for so long, I can't even fathom the idea that it will be summer again and hot and humid. My head just can't believe it.

    1. I find it absolutely impossible. I understand that factually, the temperature will rise, and as such, we will be warm. But, really?

  2. I bought a large JOOVV light a month ago. It's red light therapy and I LOVE it. It's all the suns rays but the bad ones. I actually love the Winter until February and then I am done. I love that dress on you. Loved the picture of India in the blossoms of the tree. Im sending warm weather vibes your way. Where I am getting those vibes I havent got a clue. We had 6 inches of snow last night and more coming Thursday through the weekend. As long as I live in ND I will never give up drinking ;)

    1. Lynn, I love my sun lamp. I haven't been using it since I've been back at the office, and maybe that's been part of the problem. But today is sunny and it's supposed to be 80 on Friday and this will turn everything around.

      I'm sending warm weather vibes your way! Glad your lamp is helping! You really have been getting walloped with snow. Big hugs, lady.

  3. I struggle with outfits and the lack of sun. As always, you made me feel something. Summer arriving too late is a powerful metaphor. Fine piece.


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