Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Without Warning.

"Huge bombshell," my mom texted last week.

"[He] is leaving [her.] They went back to [state redacted], settled on their new house, and then"

Here the text ended, like a cliffhanger scene in a soap opera. The portentous iMessage ellipsis told me to wait five minutes. And then:

"He went to the lawyer, put the house in her name, went home and told her he would be leaving because he needs to be alone. The house is hers 'free and clear.' He's going to one of his far away places on the 21st and won't be back. Needless to say [she] is completely shocked and devastated. She had no clue."

They'd been together more than 10 years, having met later in life, too old for kids, but young enough to see that the scars from previous unions could be healed, and that it was never too late to be happy.

At Christmas, nothing seemed amiss. They talked about their new house, and the process of selling the old one, which they'd decided was too big for them.

He travels a lot for work. We're told.

My feelings about him as a person, or as an addition to the family, necessarily deferred to one fact: He made her happy. I don't know much about their situation, but I can tell you this: Nothing about the man suggests he "needs to be alone."

That weekend Sir UncMo and I sat at the dining room table having a late breakfast when he saw something through the front window.

"Is that... Is that an owl?"

We left our chairs and headed for the living room. Across the street, a very large, beige presence stood on top of the neighbor's fence.

"What IS that?"

"I can't tell." I went to get my glasses. He went to get his camera.

The Being across the street dove off the fence and flew right in our direction, low and slow. Its wings seemed to span the two of us in the window. It glided past the daffodil shoots that emerged in the odd, warm December and now stood stuck, mid-stride, in the first real cold of January.

"Whoa," I breathed. A hawk. It veered away from us and landed on the front yard lamppost.

Sir UncMo managed to get this shot through the window, but the hawk flew away when we opened the front door to get a better look.

We'd been making fun of the rabbit that greets us in the evenings at home. He (we always assume, without basis, that it is the same male rabbit, dubbed Baxter, Brewster, Bobby, or some mischievous Bunny name along those lines) snacks in the front yard but hops to the edge when we approach, turning his back to any humans.

"They'll never see me here," we imagine he's thinking, his white cottontail like a beacon in the twilight, motionless and waiting for us to pass.

This approach obviously is not going to work with the tsunami of a bird above.

Let's get didactic about it. So far 2016 feels like a hawk. Infallibles like Bowie and Alan Rickman and Glenn Frey are suddenly gone. It's gotten bitterly cold after a period of eerie warmth, and the weather experts are calling for a major snowstorm by Friday. Shit feels unpredictable.

It's been very hard to get out of bed these last few days. Instead of driving to the Metro, I walk so that the biting air will wake me up. I try to focus on my limbs carrying me along, painless and solid, fingers freezing in their gloves, nose running and eyes tearing, blinking thankfulness into every step.

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