Friends bring home pictures from Sicily. Photos of verdant rock gardens with canopied courtyards – wisteria dangling in vines of lavender lusciousness. I want to sift in the scent of those roses and orange blossoms. Sit and stare at clouds.

But Jeb has long division and we’re tense in homework land at our kitchen table. The sun is setting outside our hot house. I don’t know what to cook for dinner. Empty boxes are stacked in the corner, because we’re moving soon. Tomorrow, the garage sale.

We volunteered to sell our neighbor’s things, too, and the Bohemian is sorting through their mix. In the piles, an old, plastic rice cooker and a porcelain harlequin mask, all covered in a film of time and dust and cat dander.

2013-05-17harlequin mask

By dark, Jeb and I have just barely made it through word problems. I’ll admit it. Afterwards, I poured myself a cocktail. Scrounged up ingredients from a house of non-drinkers. Found the hand-me down bottle of Tanqueray. Squeezed a lime, got some ice, and mixed in a squirt of organic agave syrup.

We join the Bohemian in the garage, where he mills about in dust bunnies and piles of knick-knacks, grasping a roll of masking tape and pricing everything so low, we might as well give it away. Which is what we want to do anyway.

“Just move it out, right? We don’t want to have to haul this…Three dollars, right Jess?”

He’s tagging a pretty nice bamboo chair. It’s not ours. Our neighbors don’t want it, and it has to get trucked to the second-hand store if it doesn’t sell.

“Yeah, okay. I guess that’s fine. Someone will be thrilled.”

How the value of things can change. That chair was once someone’s brand new purchase, brought home lovingly and placed in some special nook. Now it’s covered in animal hair beneath a dusty socket set and a book titled “Why Cats Paint.”

2013-05-17book sale

Even Jeb gets exhausted in the stuff. He’s sorted his books and board games until he’s tapped. “Mom, it’s a school night…”

This morning, I wake to my writing hour – 4am – for the first time in a week. It feels welcome but vacant.

I let myself pause on words and play with colored pencils instead, trying to conjure some semblance of creativity. An abstract design of black squares push down on flowing lines of soft greens and blues. This is my dichotomous world.


I guess it all exists. Right angles and curves. Darks and lights. Purchases and give-aways.

We breathe somewhere at the center of these intersections, and I’m constantly trying to reconcile a balance.

As of late, the practical dark lines have been weighing heavier.

Oh, but I long for Italy.

courtesy of Putneypics
courtesy of Putneypics

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