Memories from a little white car

As I was driving home from work just after 5pm last night, I noticed a small white sedan swerve a little into my lane.  I pulled up next to the car at the next red light we both stopped at, where I noticed the driver was a young, teenage girl and the passenger was a young, teenage boy.  Both of them were probably 16 or seventeen years old and without a care in the world.  For that fleeting moment at the light, I soaked up a glimpse of their lives and immediately likened them to Hugo and I.  In those short seconds, I saw her laughing and joking with him, as they were on their way to someone’s house to hang out with friends.  The sun was still alive in the sky for another three hours, which meant plenty of both day light and night life to enjoy during their carefree summer night.  Maybe she had a crush on him and most likely he liked her.  Maybe they were just friends but we all know how that story goes; Hugo and I were best friends turned lifelong loves so it can be a slippery slope.  During my brief observation of their simple, innocent interaction, I remembered what it all felt like.  No stress from work and adult life.  The simple beauty of having fun with friends and, quite possibly, your future husband.  And happily looking forward to having their entire lives ahead of them, yet only focusing on the present.

The main thing I thought of as I peered into the little white car was how high school evenings, such as theirs is and ours was, are focused on spending time with people you care about.  You spend all day plotting out how you can hang out with friends and where the gathering will occur.  You spend the rest of your time planning out how you can interact with the guy or gal you have a crush on.  Finally, you spend any remaining time panicking about it all coming together without a hitch.

The light turned green and the sedan sped off, full of possibility.  It looked like those two would spend the night together and they looked happy as hell.  I drove behind them for a little bit, as it appeared we were both headed back into the canyon for the rest of the evening, and then it occurred to me of exactly what I’d achieved since those days in high school.  While Hugo and I used to be those two kids in the little white car, just hoping to spend the night together and yearning for more time to live and laugh and love, I realized we are so very fortunate to get to spend that time together now, every night when we finish a day’s work, and every weekend when we are fortunate enough to sleep in together, well past the time of our alarms.  Rather than make plans to meet up somewhere and hope to catch a glimpse of a momentary flirtation, I now get to call that man my husband, all while living with him and sharing this beautiful life together.  After both of us dreaming and wanting one another as a high school crush, turned romance, turned love story, we hit the jackpot as we get to come home to one another every day for the rest of our lives.  From the little white car to the big white house we live in today, we are two lucky kids.

Oh Polly

I began a short story a couple months ago, after receiving news from my mother-in-law that my grandmother-in-law, Polly, was moved into hospice care living due to her declining health.  Life got super busy, as always seems to be the excuse with me, and I abandoned the post that I began, only to revisit it this morning and realize it isn’t accurate anymore.  While hospice was the current state of our little Polly’s life at the time (I think it was around February), how things have changed since then.  Polly took a sharp turn into the great decline after she entered hospice, only lasting a few more weeks before she passed away.  I wanted to provide an update on her when I initially penned this piece and now I find myself drafting a final farewell to the youngest, most vibrant, old lady I ever knew.

At the time of her death, Polly was an energetic, whipper-snapper at the ripe age of 96.  She lived a beautiful life, much of which I have documented in other tales about her and Bob’s great love, their joyful family of four children, as well as life as a military wife, and the fact that she welcomed me with open arms and true warm love into her family.  Polly could feel the love Hugo had for me, and I for him, and because of that, she consistently blessed our relationship with her overwhelming approval and support as she accepted me as her own grandchild.  I really loved Polly and as I noticed her penciled-in birthday on our calendar next week, I sadly realized I won’t be sending her annual card this year.

In addition to being a exceptionally positive and loving human being, Polly was also a fine example of strength in women.  Raised in the American 1920s, where women were second to men in relationships and the workforce, she had a strong will and opinion.  Her bold voice was not silenced based on being female and I personally observed her as the boss of her marriage and entire family.  While I only knew her during the final two decades of her life, I have a strong feeling she never shied away from speaking her mind and pursuing her dreams.  I love and admire women like her, particularly those who were not born into a world where that female behavior was the norm or necessarily acceptable in their father’s eyes.  It was probably an uphill battle for Polly, as well as my own grandmother Louise, who raised my mom the same.  From Grannie Lou (as I, her only grandchild, dubbed her) and Polly, to my mom, Hugo’s mom, and I, it is easy to see how the wild fire of fierce femininity was born, raised, nurtured, and repeated throughout our generations in both families.  And I love it.

While I know this isn’t true of everyone, everywhere, I do feel that the quality of people is significantly declining as we inch our way through the year 2020.  The deep love for her spouse and family, and her zest for life even on the rainiest of days, were two of Polly’s strongest and most attractive qualities, both of which seem to be severely lacking in this generation of ‘woke’.  I am mad that I just wrote that sentence but even more upset at the sheer fact it is raw truth.

Polly was and is a beautiful spirit.  Her light shines through in Hugo’s eyes, as I see those same wonderful parts pop out of him.  Not only did he learn to live and love from his parents and grandparents, it is also in his blood.  Sometimes I find it hard to pinpoint exactly what it is about Hugo that makes him such a perfectly blissful husband but based on all of my research and field experience in the world of loving this man, I am going to chalk it up to his umami being just right and, quite frankly, delicious.  And for that, I celebrate those who came before him, as they are the ingredients from which he was baked, and I say thank you.  Polly – we love you and you are missed.

State of unfairs

This world is insane right now.

Riots, looting, protests.

Rage, hate, disrespect.

I could voice my opinion about all of this but I don’t have enough energy to put my thoughts about it to paper anymore.  These last two weeks have drained Hugo and I physically, as we worked twelve hour shifts non-stop and without any time off to breath.  Since late May, just as we all began to emerge from the COVID-19 cocoon, our country erupted into a nightmare and it sucked any remaining life out of my body.

I have lost faith in a lot of things recently, the most important of which is people.  Humans, mainly the Americans you see torching police cars, running out of a burglarized Foot Locker with arm-loads of stolen sneakers, or proudly marching with a nonsense sign high above their masked heads, are ignorant and misled regarding the entire dialogue.  But, like I said, I don’t have enough energy to fight or defend the truth.  Not everything has to be about race – in fact, if we took race out of the picture, all that would be left in the majority of these recent shooting incidents would be a criminal being contacted by police, the individual not cooperating with simple requests, the subsequent fight between the police and suspect, followed ultimately by a shooting.  None of us should comment on these tense, rapidly evolving, dynamic situations, particularly when we weren’t there, don’t have all the facts and know nothing about it.

Part of me wants to run away, with my dearest Hugo of course, and the other part wants to fight, for what is right.  The will to stand up to bullshit is in my O+ blood.  My spirit is riddled with the need to convince the commoners of the real story, but in this unfortunate scenario, no one will come out as a winner.

My small circle of Hugo, the pups, and I are stressed.  As the perimeter of my circle expands, I can see the fear and uncertainty these times bring to my parents, both of whom have been barricaded at their country farm for months, watching American cities, once crippled with coronavirus deaths, now set ablaze by unemployed, college-aged antagonists.  Look even further and spot the turmoil in our government and infrastructure, the pandemic we are still very much experiencing, and the ongoing climate crisis our planet is embroiled in, all of which our own president doubts.  It is overwhelming and I feel suffocated with negativity, as I’m sure many people do.  I want out, of this country at times and of the year 2020 as a whole.  I want change too, but not the type everyone is screaming about on the 5 o’clock news.  For the record, all cops are not bastards and I am sickened by the idea of anyone being evil enough to feel that way.  Imagine if recklessly bold and inflammatory generalizations like that were made about any other group in the world – it is wrong in so many ways and very hurtful to all of the wonderful police officers and their families I know.

Zooming the lens for a moment back to my circle, the only way for me to mentally survive to see the remainder of my weekend and beyond is to focus on the good that still exists.  A lot of these problems cannot be changed by me so it isn’t worth stressing over them.  Trying to offer the fair opinion about how there are problematic employees, ‘bad apples’ if you will, in every field of work, would fall on deaf ears, unwilling to even entertain a two-sided conversation.  I won’t alter the minds of the sheep-like masses – even a pipeline of truth shoved into their Twitter-obsessed souls wouldn’t rework their closed minds, as they see and believe only that which fits the dialogue they want.  I also won’t impact major governmental decisions, most of which are fueled by corrupt and self-serving politicians.  Come to think of it, I am really not involved with any of this on any level.  That makes me mildly relieved but also disappointed because I am stuck living in a world where all of these major, major issues are happening and I can’t do a god damn thing about it.

I can, however, hug my Hugo a little bit harder when he comes into bed just after midnight tonight, another thankless shift behind him, serving the people on the news who just don’t care.  Makes me sad and still a little bit scared of where we are going and when it will stop.  I find balance in my husband and an incredible amount of strength, which I have learned to siphon off him.  He is the calming force in my life, as the world rages loud right outside of our windows.  Through him I have learned to just shut the curtains and focus on all the good inside our loving home.