Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Many and Varied Uses of the Common List

Many years ago, back when I was young, I came down with a very bad case of broken heart. It was awful; I was only 22 or 23 and I had no idea I could hurt that badly and still breathe. The fellow in question had been part of my life for more than three years, and he left our apartment because he was done with me; he had found someone new, someone better, someone else.

When I was done crying, I cleaned. I cleaned every inch of that little apartment; I scoured the hardwood floors every week with hot water and bleach, I dusted every available surface, the Easter-egg purple bathroom gleamed. There was no clutter in that apartment; even the linen closet was tidy.

When I was done cleaning, I made up a Good Riddance list, in which I detailed every single thing about the man and the relationship that I would not miss. Toenail clippings in the living room? No more! Dirty socks on the floor? Begone!

It was very therapeutic.

So now I find myself, many years later, with my heart unbroken, alone without my son. And because I miss him like all getout, I cleaned the house to within an inch of its life today, and now I am making a list of the good things about having this time by myself:

1. Food. I can make any dish that pleases me, no matter what it is. The boy does not like macaroni and cheese, so the other night I made a big dish of it and no one, not a single person (or dog, even) said "ewwwwww, it's slimy, I'm not eating THAT."

2. More food. Raspberries. In season. All for me. No sharing. Enough said.

3. Time. I can get up whenever I please, go to bed when I like, and no one will come into my room and say "Good morning, sleepyhead!" when he thinks that I am rested enough.

4. More time. If I want to have breakfast at 11:00 and dinner at 7:30 (because that is when I am hungry) and no lunch at all, then That. Is. What. I'll. Do.

5. Ditto going out: the other night I walked the Wonder Dog down to the library in the cool of the evening, spent a lovely half hour not looking at Asterix, Geronimo Stilton, or Hardy Boys books, and browsed contentedly for a bag of discards (for two bucks!) afterwards. Then I strolled on home, under the shady trees, as the sun went down, in the quiet.

I think it's kind of like the first weeks (or months, even, ahem) after you move out on your own. You go a little crazy from the freedom, and do things like reverse the days and nights to such an extent that getting to your 11:00 French class is almost impossible (not that I ever did that. Oh no sirree, not me. It was an 11:30 German class, in fact.)

The truth is I miss my kid like crazy, and I'll be glad when he's home.

But in the meantime? I'll be eating raspberries while reading a book. Don't try to stop me, either.

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