Yesterday was the last day of my first residency. While I was at school, Darby and the girls gussied up the house for the holidays. They hung their red and hot pink with gold lame handmade stockings over the fireplace screen. They draped white lights over Ganesha on the mantle. Our old friend, the styrofoam snowman, was planted back in the soil of the potted plant where he sits every winter. The handful of holiday cards we've received so far this season were set up on display. The girls assembled our vintage two-foot-high aluminum tree, hung their ornaments, and plugged in the accompanying color light wheel by the fireplace where the money tree used to be before the roots rotted from my over-zealous watering earlier this year. Hanukah's been over for a while but we tend to pack the holiday decorations all together. Darby made a centerpiece of two plastic dreidels, a cactus, and a frosty-the-snowman cookie tin for the silver thread dining room tablecloth. I walked in the front door at 5 p.m. to a living room bedazzled with glitter and tinsel. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
This must be what Rip Van Winkle felt like when he awakened from his slumber of a hundred years. On the top shelf of our fridge is a sweet potato I baked before school started. I suppose I should compost it, but a part of me still doesn't believe two weeks have passed. I missed Emerson's holiday choir concert, and Esme's acting class presentation. I missed the newest batch of released music, the primary project I oversee at my day job. I've missed emails, New York Times headlines, and Facebook updates. I've missed details never to be recalled about Darby's life.
But what would have been missed had I not folded into this MFA program? There’s a lot that’s in theory right now, but I’m pretty sure that once I sit down and actually start writing (I don’t know if this almost stream-of-conscious blog counts) I’ve got a new set of awareness and inspiration to work with. I’ve blogged before about 40-day transformation practices. If I consider these ten days as the beginning of another set of forty, I wonder by mid-January how my writing practice will have changed.
It is nearly 9 a.m. and I am sitting here at the table, writing by the light of day streaming through the dining room windows. Faint but distinct synth chords and a melody that Darby has been working on come floating down the hall. The girls are watching Hairspray, both wrapped up in their comforters munching on Honey O's cereal, and I am typing to a little dance number featuring John Travolta in a pink sequin dress.
This morning, before the coffee, before the disco music, before I even opened my eyes to the morning light, Darby held me in his arms and whispered over and over, "I got my woman back, I got my woman back, I got my woman back."