Stuck In The Middle With You

“I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.”                                               Steven Wright

And I’ve got the book covers all picked out! What was I thinking when I scheduled the trip to Jamaica for the day after graduation? Something allowed me to believe I would miraculously have the attention to complete the nine remaining pages of editing on the collection of my Father’s letters to my Mother once both feet were again firmly planted in the land of our birth.

Sure, I knew my husband would be anxious and that my aunt might be further along in her decline. I even reminded myself of the feelings that arise each time I return and must sit behind bars in the middle class prison of my childhood home. I was prepared to sleep through the transition, no matter how many days it might take to get my sealegs and island wits about me once again, but the abject indifference that met me when I was rested enough I couldn’t have anticipated.

There were details to address. Wills to be checked. Statements to reconcile. People to see. All I wanted was to go home, but where was that to be located now that all those associated with it were dead or dying? Just before the tears started to slip down through the slits of my waking eyes, I had a fleeting sense of promise: I could start all over again and choose where and with whom home would be. Then reality set in.


While waiting for my husband to close up shop, I sit at a table by the Kid’s Place door in McDonald’s reading a colleague’s dissertation. A young girl, perhaps all of four years old, rushes to the entrance and peers inside. Speaking in decibels only audible to canines and the people who love them, her face is lit with excitement. Her tiny body strains on tip toe, exerting all the discipline she can possibly muster, she waits for her mother to nod permission to enter. I steal a few envious glances over the top of my computer screen, wishing my phone’s camera were at the ready, wanting to be her, almost remembering such elation as my own, knowing it is – though I can recall not even a single occurrence in my well-remembered and equally well-mined childhood. I believe it will be again. You can bet your butterfly barretts it will be, Missy! It will be again. Friends and acquaintances, insert your earplugs. Having ditched my wig in recent months, you might get ready to have yours blown all the way back!