The tops of my feet looked like freshly baked loaves of bread: sun-browned and puffy. Rather inviting if they were actual loaves of bread instead of feet. It was day five of no electricity, thus no AC and the house was broiling in the mid-day sun.
Penelope The Dog, freshly shaven and splayed out on the cool tile floor beside me, shared the barely cool breeze that made it’s way through the front door and out the back door. The one secret to keeping cool that only the house occupants knew in times of dire need. We enjoyed the clandestine cross-breeze in shared silence; staying as still as possible, for fear of sweat breaking out in unmentionable places.
I marveled at how the early morning hours were always the coolest and how quickly they gave way to this stagnant heat. I wished for mornings in this moment, full of possibility, promise of lights this time, full of cool shadows and not yet warmed winds, not yet swollen feet.
There was nothing to do about my puffy feet in this heat, I knew, as I looked at them, propped up on two phone books I had taped together for just such an occasion. I thought about our losses, minuscule in the scheme of things but great nonetheless in our world. I thought about the delicious out of the ordinary meal of boiled hot dogs and potatoes that were my meal of the day and how it wouldn’t do the swelling of my feet any favors. But between being hungry and being fed, I’d choose to be fed and to deal with the consequences when we had AC, cool air, no heat.
I rolled to the back of the house where my white portable table was stationed and made sure to take down huge straw-fulls of water. I remembered hearing the news story of the Elders who had died in a nursing home not too far from my area and resolved not to let that be my fate. I made sure Penelope had her water too and encouraged her to drink, even if she didn’t think she was thirsty. Hydrated, we slowly made our way back to our posts by the front door.
That day, with my phone blaring podcasts to fill the quiet, I re-lived the events of Charlottesville from the perspective of POC, I learned about the hidden economy in the music business and had my palate curious about Vietnamese Pho. Exercises in being present, in not being disappointed that no utility trucks rumbling down my street meant one more night of stifling heat and little sleep.
These moments spent occupying my time, really just kept me from sitting with the thoughts and decisions that I’d rather not examine. Though without many regrets, I began to wonder how my life might have been and looked different than this moment. If I’d made different choices, met different people, done things another way, maybe, just maybe, I’d have a different story to tell, a different life to live that didn’t include sleeveless shirts and rolled-up-to-the-knee pants while waiting for utility workers who were decidedly not gonna show up this day.
I take a deep breath. I tell myself that things are okay… I am safe. I have my home. I can begin again. Always again. I exhale and hold on to a little hope for tomorrow. Maybe, just maybe there’d be better news tomorrow.
Protect your life FB Fam