I'm not sure what really qualifies as notable in a daylog anymore. I've written about getting hit by cars on my bike, narrowly hit by cars, deciding to run for public office in Colorado, and finding faith in improbable places. I guess this sorta qualifies.
I decided today would be a good time to catch up with my mother. Hadn't seen her in a while, so we met at our regular haunt, down the road from my apartment, a diner of ill repute, a greasy spoon that lives up to the title. We go there anytime she and I meet up, me because I like the smoky atmosphere and comfortable chairs, she because she gets to cheat on her diet and have a load of hashed browns and eggs and sausage and bacon. The coffee ain't half bad, but stay away from the orange juice; it's squeezed juice, but I think it's squeezed through a lard-soaked bit of cheesecloth.
She picked me up, despite my protestations that I'm perfectly happy to ride my bike the four blocks it would take to get there. It's October in Colorado, which means we have some really cold days and some moderately cold days to look forward to over the next several months. That's fine with me, I love the chill--keeps me on my toes when I'm on my bike, and keeps my cheeks a cherubic red. A nice, crisp morning is just perfect for me, out here in the mountains, 5,000 feet above sea level. This morning, however... It seemed almost muggy. A check of local news sites before I left showed that the humidity was not anywhere near unlike the norm, and temperature just like this day last year. But it felt different.
I dismissed it. I must've been wearing too many clothes, or my hat was on too tight, or something. Maybe I had a cold.
The diner was deserted. Nothing new, there. I have no idea, frankly, how they pay their bills. I've never had to wait for a table, never had a delay in my food, never had more than one party within a table of me. Today, we stood at the counter for a few minutes before I took charge of my familiarity of the place, grabbed a couple menus and sat down in our usual, corner booth.
We talked about my parents' church, talked about how the choir could really use my voice again to contribute to the anthems and Gregorian chant. They always say that, and after I'm tired of hearing it, I end up waking up at 6am on Sunday mornings to go join them. And I remind myself of why I love going. And then I listen to the right-wing propagandists up at the pulpit talking of The End of Humanity and The Coming of the Lord and I remind myself why I eventually stop going. We started chatting about politics. She's been a lifelong Republican, and I'm a staunch liberal. It's often an interesting discussion, frank and honest, and at the end, even if I may not agree with her 100%, I always remember why I respect her so much. Sticks to her guns, and when she's wrong, she's okay with admitting it.
A police car went whizzing by the diner, its lights blaring, its siren screaming like a roomful of hungry Siamese cats. Then another. Two ambulances. Must've been a bad accident farther North.
Mother commented that she could hear my stomach rumble. My stomach hadn't rumbled. I wasn't really that hungry. Started getting hotter in the diner. Smelled terrible, like a grease fire, but with a cat thrown in.
Mom gave me the look. The look you never want to see from your mother, and expect to see from your children when they ask where Fluffy, who was run over by the car, is, and if she's happy. The look you see on men and women you see on the news who just watched their homes be washed away by hurricanes, or picked up and tossed away by tornadoes. The face of staring at the inevitable. The face of staring at an absent God--one you've spoken to your whole life.
My mother wasn't looking at me. She was looking behind me. My bottom lip quivered slightly, ever so slightly. A chill ran somewhere. It wasn't hot anymore. It was dead cold.
"We should go," I said, in the calmest way I could. "I think the staff is too busy." I recognized the lunacy of the statement. There wasn't anyone else in the diner. There was no one else to wait on, there were no entrees to cook, no dishes to wash. But it gave me something to hold on to, and when I thought of the food sizzling on the grill, the dishes soapy and wet, it made me not want to scream. I grabbed my mother's hand and we walked calmly out of the diner, to her car, my eyes constantly scanning the horizon, a skill I picked up from years of playing video games. A brisk walk, good for the blood.
Someone was hunched down by the diver's side front tire on my mother's car. Arms in front. Could've been taking the wheel off, but without a jack, that made for difficult work. Head bobbing furiously. Chewing. Attuned, I could hear the sound of ripping meat. We made a quick turn, away from the car. Walked calmly back to my apartment. Took the stairs instead of the elevator. I couldn't stop swallowing. Felt like I had something in my throat.
Locked the door hours ago. Mom's asleep in my bed right now. I gave her some sleeping pills I keep around for when my back acts up and I can't get to sleep. It's a restless sleep. She's thinking of God. I wish I could. It's night, now, and the whirring of my computer is my only company. That and the rat-tat-tat of my keyboard. Every noise I hear outside, always the sound of blowing leaves, or a stick crunching under something, draws my attention to my tightly closed window. They're gonna need more support. I think I have an old rocking chair I can take apart to shore it up a bit.