Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ennui

These were difficult times for me. I wanted the war to be over and I wanted S to come back in one piece. The family had asked me to get my vacation at a certain time in late August, for they were planning to spend two weeks in Carmel Valley and they wanted me to come too. This was early in the year this request was made. The hospital agreed.

Meanwhile, back at home, the phone rang one day and it was a young woman from St. Louis, who had graduated from our class in NY. I had not heard from her since we graduated, I had not heard of her marriage to a high school sweetheart. He quickly became a pilot in the Army Air force and was sent to England. On his first flight over Germany he was shot down and never heard from again. She was hopeful that he might be imprisoned and would come back after the war. She had a horrible life, wondering and wondering. If he had been declared dead it might have been easier, but the verdict was missing in action. She was working in South San Francisco and wondered if I would like to share an apartment with her.

It was a difficult decision. She had not shared my problems when I lived in NY. Her mother had staked her to school and living arrangements. But I felt so sorry for her. And so finally I said yes. We found a furnished house for rent in South San Mateo, just blocks away from the hospital. Things worked out well for a while. (I had one complaint about our arrangements. We had soft boiled eggs for breakfast, she insisted she prepare them, and when I sat down to eat mine, they were made up entirely of egg-whites. Never a touch of yellow in my egg cup.) Can you believe I remember a thing like this after all these years. It did not take me long to switch to Corn-flakes.

But soon there were more serious problems. She drank quite a lot of hard stuff and liked to do it in a down town bar. It worried me for she came home quite toasted. When she brought home the first equally toasted male, I sat her down the next day and told her this could not go on. Or if it did, I would have to move back to my security blanket, S's family.

A sad event happened while in that house. It was, I think a Saturday morning. I was standing by the kitchen sink when I heard: EXTRA, EXTRA, PRESIDENT DIES OF (mumble, mumble) I knew what the young teen was trying to to say. I called to him and the next time he shouted he said EXTRA EXTRA, PRESIDENT DIES OF STROKE.

4 comments:

Rachel said...

What I find interesting about how you often write-- and perhaps this is generational-- is that you state a fact about something nutty/ridiculous someone did, but then you don't state some sort of judgment about it (like you don't call it "nutty" and "ridiculous"). I find that really interesting. It makes me wonder if it's a writing style, form of respect, or...?

I love reading this blog.

Jodie said...

Thanks for coming back. I miss your blog when you don't give us a new story every day. HUGS.

Martha Alderson said...

A sign of a great writer is when they do not insult the reader by retelling them something they have just shown effectively in scene.

Goes to demonstrate what a great writer you are.....

Martha Alderson said...

PS --

By showing and then not retelling, you allow you readers to draw their own conclusions and make their own judgments...

Well done.