Yesterday was not a day to be out of doors. Ruby, our red Pathfinder, was covered in a sheet of ice, icicles hanging like fringe from the side mirrors and the bottom of the doors—not the surrey with the fringe on top. We had to venture forth. Ruby saved me during a car accident almost 4 years to the day; she would come through for us today.
We were out of salt, so Lorin scattered kitty litter on the front steps and walkway before we left. It does the trick, but it’s a bitch to clean up later.
It took about two hours to drive from New Jersey to the Bronx—there was an accident on the Bruckner Interchange. We headed to the Whitestone, onto the Cross Island Parkway, then onto the LIE. It took another hour to reach Long Island with the brakes acting up, Lorin pumping them to try to unfreeze the brake pads. It took a while to come to a full stop on icy roads. It was a white knuckler of a ride.
When I allowed myself not to be afraid, I took in the sky: thick and white, only the outlines of trees visible. Hauntingly beautiful and composed.
Cold, snow, ice and loss have mixed together into a kind of cosmic blender. A gentle snow fell the night of my accident in 2011, the first time I diapered my mother, recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Another January has come, and Lorin’s father has passed away after a heart attack from which he never awoke. Lorin, his dad’s girlfriend B and I were at the hospital on and off for nine days. The palliative team at Bellevue Hospital kept him very comfortable, and he died peacefully. A good death, you could say.
We gathered on Long Island with family for bagels and coffee, to look at photographs, to reminisce and make plans for a memorial, most likely in the spring.
“Dad liked nature,” Lorin said. He would have liked to see the flowers in bloom.
Out of the ice and into the bloom.
He sang in the choir at his Lutheran church. They laid his robe over his chair during the church service yesterday.
We drove his girlfriend B back to Brooklyn, Lorin still pumping brakes, no ice falling, but heavy rain.
When Lorin lit up a cigarette, B said, “That reminds me of your father.”
“How many did he smoke a day?” I asked.
“Only 2 or 3. I’ll miss him when I’m at home,” she said.
It was a little easier driving home, but still scary at times. At times we stopped breathing, I think.
This morning, I scraped off the cemented-on kitty litter on the stairs and walkway with a shovel, disposing of as much as I could; some was frozen under a layer of ice. Later on, Lorin hosed off more of the litter and put down liquid blue Ice Melt. We dropped Ruby off at the mechanic.
A London Broil’s in the slow cooker, listening to the new age music channel, Soundscapes.
No ice storm in the forecast. We welcome the mundane.