Sons and Daughters

Ms. Ryan and Nick before prom 2002

Wake up Tuesday and feel a million times better. I just can’t stop falling asleep. Mike has off today, so he witnesses me watch TV and pass out periodically throughout the day. I’m so tired and exhausted. It feels like I ran a big race yesterday. We plan to do some errands later in the day but I can’t find the energy, so Mike goes by himself. The only thing I manage is an hour long phone conversation with Ms. Ryan.

I’ve known Ms. Ryan since I was a senior in high school when her son, Nick, became my best friend. We went to prom together and Ms. Ryan was there the entire day for me – not Nick – running around with me, helping me get my dress fixed because there was a last minute tear in it. “Prom’s all about the girl anyway.” Nick is her only son, so I think she liked to treat all of Nick’s girlfriends as her own daughters. Nick and I remained really close through college, and Ms. Ryan and I became even closer.

There was a point when the three of us exchanged Christmas gifts every year. One year Ms. Ryan got me a necklace that  I still wear all the time; silver, with three connecting hearts. “One heart for you, one for me, and one for Nicky.” She’s always checking up on me – when I moved to New York, then Hoboken, and now California. A phone conversation with Ms. Ryan is an investment – I have to prepare myself for it because I know it’s going to be long (same thing goes for her son). We will talk about nothing and everything.

Ms. Ryan's wedding 2008

Ms. Ryan married Jimmy almost four years ago and took a new last name but I just can’t bring myself to call her by her first name. She will always be Ms. Ryan to me. We talk about a wedding on the phone – but this time it’s Nick’s big day. He and Janene got engaged this past Christmas. I’ll be making the trip home for that one.

When Mike gets home we put together a microwave cart – it came in the mail yesterday. I don’t feel good about this. I get frustrated very easily. This thing is stupid. There’s no written instructions – just pictures and numbers. I hate it. Mike asks me to hand him a clogger. A what? What are you talking about, a clogger? He gets annoyed, like, obviously I should know what this thing is. Are you just making that up? “Well that’s what it is.” OK, Mike. He continues to say it, and I can’t get mad. I have to laugh. Whatever those things are, they will now always be ‘cloggers’ to me.

Microwave cart

We finally finish this stupid thing and the doors won’t shut. I try to fix it, but it won’t work. I have to walk away from it before I freak out. Thankfully, Mike figures it out and it’s finished. Actually, it looks good. I’m really into it. We’re both exhausted. Even though I slept all day I can’t wait to pass out again tonight.

*The Decemberists

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