Sunday, August 25, 2013

Alone Time

It’s 10:00 am and I have the whole day to myself. I’ve been to the pool for a swim, Skyped with my husband in Ireland, showered, read the Sunday Times from cover to cover and savored two cups of Blue Mountain coffee. Heaven, as I see it.

I don’t have much time alone. This is my precious summer vacation, my respite from classes of 35 middle schoolers. I like them. I really do. But not every day. Still, no one consulted with me about the hours of the school calendar. Two weeks to go before my time is managed more than most working people. A classroom teacher is on every minute of contact time. Even her bathroom and water breaks are regulated.

Normally, in the summer, I’m in Ireland with my husband for 8 weeks while he plays the saxophone throughout County Kerry. This year, as many of you know, my daughter is expecting her first child. It hasn’t been an easy pregnancy. Jennifer has health issues which, happily, have resolved themselves. For me, it meant flying home a month early, cooking, cleaning, shopping and chauffeuring. Healthy little John Hogan Readey is expected momentarily. The anticipation is making it difficult to sleep. All of which makes me appreciate a Sunday on my own.

I don’t want to be alone permanently. I’ve done that, too, and it’s beyond lonely. The idea is to have an occasional day where nothing is pre-arranged and no one is expecting you, where the house is quiet and the energy low, where a great book awaits, (currently I’m reading Maggie O’Farrell) and, hopefully, the writing muse is stirred.

Tomorrow, the phone will ring. Jennifer will need a ride to her doctor’s appointment. Michael, home from Chicago, will want to “hang out,” dental appointments will be made and a long overdue air conditioning maintenance scheduled. Today, however, is still ahead and still my own.

Slain Abhaile


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hannie Rising, excerpt 3

It still amazed her how much she missed him. When he was alive there had been times when she’d longed to be alone, when she’d envisioned the luxurious comfort of sleeping in the middle of the bed, of washing only her own clothes, of listening to music she preferred and eating only salad and a boiled egg for tea. She never voiced those sentiments, of course, not even to Maura. But she’d wished for them. Sometimes, in her Catholic background of tangled guilt, she wondered if she’d wished too hard, if God had punished her by giving her what she thought she wanted and then realized, too late, that she didn’t want it at all, that she would give anything to wash Mickey’s clothes and cook his meals and hear his voice at the other end of her mobile.

It was a silly idea, of course. Johannah wasn’t pious enough, nor egocentric enough, to believe that God was overly concerned with the wishes of a middle-aged woman from Kerry. Mickey’s heart attack was the result of blocked arteries, a family predisposition, the doctor called it, plaque lining the arteries preventing blood flow to the heart. Smoking and drinking hadn’t helped. Neither had the vanillas he regularly consumed. Sick arteries weren’t always evident. Who would have thought Mickey Enright with his flat stomach, smooth skin and head full of brown hair was at risk for a heart attack? But he was and now he was gone and she was alone.