Today’s Daily Prompt has me thinking. What would I take with me? In truth, I’ve thought about this a few times. Mainly while waiting in the ‘safe place’ for a fireman to come up and tell me the fire is out. Or there isn’t one.
There isn’t much else to think about, sitting behind a fire door, when the ‘safe place’ doesn’t feel very safe.
So, yeah. I’ve thought about this question. What would I take with me if my house was burning down? The answer is not much. And everything.
The prompt says to assume that people and animals are safe. So, I will. And I’ll add something else. My chair is safe. Because it would be under my ass. Or piled with the stuff Sarge and I would take with us. Sarge would be steering it with one hand while the other one had me in a fireman’s lift. Because love lifts us up where we belong. Or something.
Since we are safe and singing, this stuff is stacked in my chair. Because we are safe and singing and resourceful:
My Grandma’s Graduation photo. Because I love her and it down to the ground and around the world. It lived in a white album when I was a kid. And it was on a wall as I went through high-school. I imagine Grandma saw everything. Dad gave me a copy and she’s smiling in my living room. I’d take her with me. Because there’s still so much to see.
The photo of Grandma and Grandpa standing in front of their first house. For all of the above reasons. And because the look so freaking happy. And relaxed. And hopeful. And because they are my inspirations for married life and love and pretty much everything else.
A pencil drawing of my Poppy, dated 1949. Because I talk to him, too.
A photo collage of Grandpa’s newspaper clippings. He was a champion flower-grower. My cousin put his award notices together with a packet of Daisy seeds that I still remember. One of the best gifts I received on our to trip to New York.
My Butterfly Box. It’s where I keep old cards and letters and yet more photos. Like the one of Nana and Poppy at a wedding. And another one of them smiling in the 60s. My green Italian leather notebook is in there, too. And a purple one, which isn’t Italian.
The notebooks are on top of the first pair of sunglasses I ever bought with my own own money, and a card from my mother when I didn’t have any. It reads: When things are bad and getting worse, put a cookie in your purse. It was tacked up in my kitchen at University for a long time. Because my friends used the saying as a mantra. And because some people call me Cookie. Only designated people. So, please don’t. I’d lose my street cred, if I had any.
I wish my favourite pen was in my Butterfly Box. It isn’t. But my wooden name-train is. I call it a wooden name-train because it’s my name. On wheels. Made of wood.
The ‘A’ has de-railed. I guess you could say the name-train has been with me a really, really long time and knows me really, really well. You’d be right.
And since The Box is one thing, I’d stick some more memories in it. I’d cruise by the fridge, still hanging over Sarge’s shoulder, asking him nicely not to turn the wrong way and accidentally smack my head off the wall while I swipe my magnet collection. The oldest being a pair of family cats and the newest is one from my Dad.
Maybe surprisingly, I’d let most of my books burn. But I’d look for my copy of Death and the Penguin, the one Sarge wrote in before giving it to me. Perhaps he would curse the fact that our books aren’t alphabetised, before throwing the book at me. Maybe I’d stick it down my favourite butterfly shirt. So I could hold it between us. We’d be a book sandwich.
And out we’d go. Maybe singing. Upside down. And sideways. Definitely grateful. Taking only my family and my memories. Like always.
It’s been 15 days since I’ve been outside and I’ve been ill for 13 of them. In that times I think I’ve regressed, reading Stephen King and listening to music in bed, and deciding that I might just like It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. By osmosis. Sarge is sick now, too, see. We are sharing the TV. And the cough syrup.
It’s my fault that he’s sick. Because when I’m sick, I get extra mushy. I want to hug the shit out of everyone. More than usual. And these days, Sarge is the only one around. Not complaining. Not really.
Take last week, for example.
He may have coughed and blew his nose, showing it to me like a prize. ‘Maybe it’s the flu,’ he said.
I looked at him over my glasses, crooked on my face. Because I can, and they were. ‘Say what?’ I said.
‘Maybe it’s the flu.’
‘I’ve been sick for a week, and you’ve said it’s not the flu. Because I’d know if it was. Of course. You’re sick for 5 minutes and it’s the flu? Gimme the tissues, you damn fool.’
And I blew my nose. ‘So. Now it’s the flu?’
I shrugged. ‘OK. Can I hava hug?’
And so, on we go. Amidst the pills and the eucalyptus and the lozenges, I’m restless. I am sick of being sick. I have always been an impatient patient. I don’t know which book to read. Or which one to write. Nothing is enough. I’ve stuffed another notebook. I’ve run out of ink. This is what cabin fever feels like.
I didn’t make it to my personal training session on Wednesday. I’d spent the night before with a throwing up bug, which won over my throwing up phobia at least six times.
At about 4 in the morning, I thought it’d be a stellar idea to sleep in the bathroom. Instead, I went back to bed and spooned with Freddy The Fuck It Bucket. Named after what I yelled out right before I spewed into it. It gave me some control back. Or something.
I’ve spent the last two days sipping energy drinks on the couch, not watching Dexter or anything to do with food.
And now, the stomach bug has moved up into my face. So yeah, it’s been an interesting week here at Casa Penguino.
And Sarge has been wonderful throughout the whole thing. Take last night for example.
At about 3 o’clock, I was sitting up in bed attempting to dislodge some snot and I had misplaced my tissues. I might have nudged/pulled at Sarge’s beard, saying only, ’tissues, now, where?’ He found them half-way down the bed and might have thrown them at my face. I didn’t understand that he wanted to go back to sleep, I thought he wanted to stay up with me singing ‘Thank You For Being A Friend‘. In a round. At 3 in the morning. The cold was making me delirious. And nostalgic. Apparently. Happy belated birthday, Betty White.
Today, I’m feeling slightly better. Although I don’t know if these dispatches from the couch make any sense. Well, I know what I’m saying. Maybe.
I missed a call from my Dad because I fell asleep in the middle of the afternoon. When I called him back, I tried to explain that I actually felt better than I might sound. ‘Well that’s good,’ he said, ‘because you sound pretty bad.’
I’ve used this new-found burst of energy to dance around my living room, while waiting for medicinal Indian food. I think I’m going to need more tissues. But hopefully not Freddy The Fuck It Bucket.
As he pulled me backwards down the ramp and on to the street, the taxi driver asked what I was doing there. On a Monday. In the rain. In Glasgow.
‘Wedding make-up trial.’
‘Are you going to be a bridesmaid?’
‘No. I’m the bride.’
‘Thank you. Have a nice day.’
As I made my way up to Dad and Anne’s flat, I thought about how much I live to surprise people. Not really. Maybe a little. Remember this?
When I arrived upstairs, Dad might have been Googling wedding video people. Sarge and I had two must-haves on that front. Unobtrusive cameras and a grammatically-correct website. After three phone calls, and some squealing from me, we found someone. I sent Sarge a link to the website, and his usual ‘Cool!’ was upgraded to ‘Awesome!’ And so, that’s another thing off the to-do list.
At about ten that night, Dad, Anne and two of my bridesmaids were eating pizza and watching me get transformed into Eddie Izzard, um, a bride. The beauty therapist was very patient. And the one-sided conversation went something like this: open, blink, stop, no, open…DO OVER. And did I mention I’m not co-ordinated enough for liquid eye-liner? I’m not. Pencils SAVE. Or something.
As for my hair, I had only two stipulations. 1. My hair and I must fit through any doorway at the same time. b. We must avoid what I call The Bridal (Hair) Hump.
As I slapped myself with make-up remover before getting on the train to go home, I thought my hair and I were safe.
However, I was having doubts about my hair in a way that I’ve never doubted my future husband. And so I showed him my hair. In a way that I’ve never shown him my dress.
‘It makes your head look tall,’ he said. And I understood him completely. The Bridal (Hair) Hump. Number (2) on my list of Things To Be Avoided.
That means I’m back on Pinterest looking for hair inspiration-even-though-I-hate-that-word. Pinterest is also good for dessert porn while I’m actually eating fruit and frozen yogurt. Because that’s what my personal trainer says I should eat. Did I mention I have one of those? I do.
In the midst of hairspray and crunches, I’ve heard back from the florist, too. In my original email to her, I might have said, ‘ My husband-to-be, (Sarge), is severely allergic to all the flowers that have ever grown, and I only like a few of them anyway. I would really like (Sarge) to enjoy our wedding, and not sneeze/wheeze through it. Tearing up is fine, even encouraged. But we must avoid the very loud Sneezes of Doom.’
The Sneezes of Doom are right up there with The Bridal (Hair) Hump. In case anyone is keeping score.
We talked about paper flowers and brooch bouquets. Apparently our wedding will be a little ‘different,’ but she is happy to work with us. I was ecstatic to hear both of those things. From someone who isn’t related to me or Sarge.
That leaves us with only a few more things on the to-do list and five months and one day to go.
For now though, I need to eat grapes and do some laps.