I’ve been working on a complicated fair isle hat. My husband has been in the hospital with congestive heart failure. My grown children have been here telling me that I can’t handle things and should get rid of the our dog Franklin. My daughter-in-law says he might be happier somewhere else.
I might be happier somewhere else too. We’re old, I have no enthusiasm for anything, I’m worried and crazed with it, I have the contents of a big old house in Vermont to remember and decide what to keep without being there. As if I didn’t have enough trouble with visions and memories and small inscrutable objects. The red tray, the old pewter, the drawings of the oldest granddaughter, the Christmas ornaments. Up there in the north we went out and found a tree, brought it back to the house and tried to make it stand up.
That’s over. We’ll probably never see the place again. We’d planned to go up there for Thanksgiving but my husband went to the emergency room and stayed for Thanksgiving. We won’t be able to get there for Christmas either, nor for the closing, nor for the goodbyes which is just as well. It’s sad as it is. Things were looking up finally. We’d sold that house, which was an expensive burden although beloved. That house, the snowshoes and the Christmases and the all-night ghost stories coincided with the birth and childhood and adolescence of our grandchildren, who ran the halls and told ghost stories and took off their jackets while they slid up and down the hill.
Yes, I whine. My husband feels much better and survived heart failure before. But we’re old now and the last morning our daughter was here I saw a list of “home health aides” up on her computer. I now have to prove that I can be a grownup and take care of a household. How many years did I do that alone while he hung out with Hunter Thompson and made a name for himself?
I’m not sure I can do it. I can’t find the missing stitch in the fair isle hat. I count and count and take out row after row, start over again and again. The count is right but the one stitch isn’t there. Where did it go?