It’s a rainy September night. It’s 9:45 and the rest of my family is asleep – my eldest son only beating my husband to bed by scant minutes. It is also my 33rd birthday. My email was crammed to overflowing with birthday wishes today, which warmed my heart with one-line reminders of friendship. My mailbox was empty. Can I admit something to you? For most of my life, my grandmother has faithfully sent me a birthday card on my birthday. Everyone else might forget, or be late. But grandma always remembered. Last year, for the first time ever, I didn’t get a birthday card from her. I was hoping to see the familiar hand an on envelope again this year. But no. I know she loves me. I know she probably even has a birthday card put aside for me (somewhere, where she’s probably forgotten it). But she always remembered. Now I just hope that she doesn’t remember that she’s forgotten!
Ah, fall rain makes me melancholy.
When I envisioned my fortnight or more of surgery recovery, I imagined that this would be my big chance to really make something of this blog. I would write out all those posts lingering in draft with an evocative line or two. I would marshall my pictures, tag them, and record them. I would be witty, engaging, full of pathos and good descriptions. My profound and moving writing would get retweeted, and my readership would finally break a 30 average. Instead, I didn’t feel well, didn’t write much except boring medical updates with, and didn’t even do all that well with Zelda. It can be a dire thing to face our true inner selves and discover that we are not actually an astonishing writer waiting to be discovered. No, we are a mediocre Zelda player trying to figure out how to navigate this level of the dungeon without getting killed.
The rain quickens and slants across the windowpanes. I loved the rare rains when I lived with my grandmother in California. The roof seemed to echo joyfully with each drop that fell on the parched desert.
I have updates on my knee. I went to the orthopedic surgeon on Wednesday. He was very pleased with how the wounds were healing, and how my swelling was (aka nonexistent). That ice pack thingy truly worked wonders. So I am recovering very well from the procedures. However, he sat me down for a long talk. The tear in one of my menisci was very extensive. (I continue to be amazed at how well my poor knee functioned.) He had to remove more than half of it. They do not replace meniscus. What I have remaining is what I have. I am therefore permanently and for the rest of my life forbidden from being a runner. I am very grateful I ran a 5k for the first time last year, because it will also be my last. I was beginning to really enjoy running, and to envision myself as maybe a person who did 5ks or 10ks. I wanted to be one of those people confidently striding across the pavement – mostly because I like being outdoors and I wanted to be fit and healthy. I don’t have a good backup plan. The other things I’ve enjoyed (basketball, raquetball) are also high impact. Swimming is hard logistically. I’m scared of bicycles since my sister’s near-fatal accident.
The Sox and Yankees were rained out today, so this line of clouds must extend all the way down past New York. I like a rain that stays and endures – one that rocks you to sleep and wakens you in the morning.
Today I did physical therapy for the first time. I was quite pleased with the results. Again, no swelling. I walked across the room with hardly any limp, if tentatively, sans crutches. I am supposed to use the crutches for safety, not because I require a prop. The strength tests he gave I did well in. I should recover quickly.
I miss sitting in the quiet of my childhood home, watching the rain fall on ancient hills, softening the stern outlines of the firs. In that moment in my memory, listening to Simon and Garfunkel and seeing past the thin veneer of civilization to the implacable mountains as they must have been through time immemorial, I ached for the impossible loveliness and loneliness of it all with all the romantic passion of a teenage heart.
My morning started my day badly. I was taking Grey to school and we were running late. I am not used to having deadlines for him. At the last moment as he was leaving and gathering his things, I said, “Hurry up!” His shoulders slumped. His face took on an injured cast. He shuffled, forlorn, to the front door of the school – a tiny kindergarten-sized bundle of woe in front of a vast concrete edifice. I was struck with remorse. What I should have said was, “I love you. Have a great day, kiddo.” I carried it with me all day that I had, for 20 seconds of gain, sent my child to school chastised instead of cherished. I went to get him a bit early, since I was working from home. Just him. And I asked him to help me make a birthday cake. He read the ingredient list and got all of them out – distinguishing baking powder from baking soda! He measured, poured, cracked eggs, mixed, and sampled. He wore his robot apron and joked with me in the kitchen. We made a really fantastic chocolate cake together, and ended our day eating the fruits of our labors, blessed by the hymnic “Happy Birthday”.
Of all the great songs Simon and Garfunkel wrote, my very favorite is Kathy’s Song. Back to that living room moment – I had Sound of Silence on LP. You know, “long play”. A record. Vinyl. This was well into the CD age, but on a rainy afternoon, thinking poetic, romantic thoughts, I played it on the record player instead and each word pierced my heart.
I hear the drizzle of the rain
Like a memory it falls
Soft and warm continuing
Tapping on my roof and walls
And from the shelter of my mind
Through the window of my eyes
I gaze beyond the rain-drenched streets
To England where my heart lies
My mind’s distracted and diffused
My thoughts are many miles away
They lie with you when you’re asleep
And kiss you when you start your day
And a song I was writing is left undone
I don’t know why I spend my time
Writing songs I can’t believe
With words that tear and strain to rhyme
And so you see I have come to doubt
All that I once held as true
I stand alone without beliefs
The only truth I know is you
And as I watch the drops of rain
Weave their weary paths and die
I know that I am like the rain
There but for grace and you go I.
Good night, all. Tomorrow is a new, fresh and joyful day.