I always used to expect college campus' to be sad during the summer months.
Like a Metra station on the weekend.
Or the Evergreen Plaza on a Thursday night. Linda had her therapy sessions in the back of the Evergreen Plaza. Don't worry, it was in a real office. But, I know what you're thinking. You read The Lovely Bones, you know what goes on inside the underbelly of a typical fiction mall. No, I tend to write mostly from the actual, relying on metaphor, or food to clot any wounds that might still be exposed. Thusly ignoring the voice that barks "why are you laughing"?!--At my squeaky peripheral vision. Bruce was his name. The therapist, he called himself Bruce. And come to think of it, if he wasn't morbidly obese and walked with a cane, I'm sure she would have fucked him. She fucked everyone. EVERYONE. Except for the ones who fucked her, of course. You had to walk through the food court to get to him. If we got there early enough we could get some pizza from Sbarro. Pepperoni and a diet coke please. What do you say? Thank you? She was never hungry, just sipped on the soda that I never finished. I usually ate half of my jumbo slice. Because the one time I finished it she said "Wow, hungry girl tonight", and shot me a glare that made it clear that I should never ever finish anything ever again.
Apparently not even school. The first time she was on Hospice, (yes, she's been on Hospice more times then I've been prescribed Zoloft, which is many) sprawled out on the couch like Cleopatra, Bruce made a house call. I helped him up the stairs by process of elimination, Linda was half my weight, and Tom was making the monthly pilgrimage to the Indiana border for cheap cigarettes. Anyway, once big Bruce was settled in to the vintage upholstery, we all talked, or something. About the funeral. So weird. I was sitting on the radiator not saying much. Wishing Tom would hurry up. He was thin too, but the only one still strong enough to hug me. Which was something I liked. What ever happened to him? It took me about five years to trust him hard enough to hug back, trust that the hug wouldn't go below the belt. And then he was gone. C'mon Tom, I don't look anything like Linda, I wont remind you of her at all, promise. Anyway, I always stayed in the waiting room during their Plaza sessions, chatting about Disney movies and Highlights magazines with the secretaries, so this public living room session was mildly interesting I guess. Where's Tom?
And Linda was dying some time in the next three months, and Bruce was going to read something at the memorial, and I had to make a list of people to call, inform, that Linda had passed away in her sleep surrounded by people who love her, and damn it, WHERE IS TOM!?
And I remember this whole time table was hard to grasp. Confusing to say the least. Three months? Really? Is there some kind of advent calendar to help me track this kind of thing. I'm a visual learner.
And I remember Bruce said, trying to be nice I'm sure, "Well, there are certain things we know for sure, you'll never see Jessica get married for example, or graduate college, or even learn to drive".
Hmm. For someone who seems to be paying more attention to how long they can bare their perch a top the 1920's radiator before the dry heat penetrates there kids size 13 denim apparel, I think I really took those words to heart.
And what hurt the most I think, is the way Linda answered, with a "no, no, no, no, no, definitely not, ha, ha ha". Like it wasn't even sad. After all that pizza I threw away for you? Nothing? In return?
Step in any time Bruce.
Tom!? No, Chinese food. I'm not hungry anymore.
Where was I going with that? Oh, the campus! North Park is in a major metropolitan area! Not lonely at all during the summer months.
Progress. And life. And air conditioners.
Skin/Toast/And Tired Of Waiting