It has been dark in here

The flu.

Day ? (I shake my head at my own cluelessness.)

Mim has the flu, too.

The flu has reduced me to the basest levels of humanity. I am recounting all the things I have ever done wrong. Lately.

  1. My friend and I meet up for sushi with our girls. My friend has cancer. She is doing well and she might not tell me if she wasn’t, because she is mega tough. Beyond imaginable level headed and cool and she can play tennis well without wearing a tennis skirt to the grocery store. She is genius level smart and kind. KIND. She is accomplished. She can walk into a room and talk to anyone about anything and everyone in that room would see how impressive she is. She is organized. She has different stainless steel containers for her recycling categories. She navigates any difficulty with asking questions of the right people and actually talking to them on the phone. No one scares her. She remembers everyone’s names. Including your sister in law. ———–Well, We got to Sushi Place A and they went to Sushi Place B. We realize and text each other. I let her change sushi places for me. I sit at A and let her get in her car and find a parking spot while I sit there and drink a diet coke. I’m evil. The parking is easier usually and she offered and I let her. Now I will be ashamed when I close my eyes for the next 39 years. I can’t even tell you why I did it. I think I was tired. I shouldn’t be left alone. If I am capable of this what else may happen?
  2. I can’t remember the other things I thought of. Last night while I cried for three hours, there was more.

The crying wouldn’t stop. It was powerful. I would get under control and another wave would come.

I remember reading once that inside our brains- the immune system is next to our emotions. Maybe that is it. Or —-maybe I have been masquerading as a good human when all this time I was lying to myself and you. I am a monster. I don’t moisturize. I never mail thank you notes. I am annoying. I bite the skin by my finger nails. My sink is almost never empty of dishes when I got to bed. I lost the key to my mailbox and I need to go to the post office to get a new lock. That seems way too hard so I taped an index card to my box and asked the mail carrier to leave my mail by my door. Actually, I couldn’t find the tape so I just wedged the index card into a crack so he would see it.


While I was lying in my bed completely still so Mim would not sense that I was awake, I saw a red rubber ball pop up into the sky and fall right back down. I waited. — It happened again- two tosses into the sky this time. From my position of cheek succumbing to gravity my eyes tilted up, I couldn’t see who or what was making this medium sized glossy red ball interrupt my dread. But I know without looking. She is my neighbor. She lives with the hoarder and I do not think it is by choice. She probably has no where else to go. I hear that she squeezes past columns of newspaper and fire hazards to reach her bedroom. There is talk of rats and mold. No one actually knows anything. But there is talk. The ball tosser has spoken to me a few times. Once she gave me print outs of an Amazon listing of her self published book. I think it was about pedophiles and child stars. Maybe you have seen her, too. Short wavy gray hair. She is tall and walks like only someone with mental illness walks. Short determined steps that shuffle. Her walk makes me do a double take because it is the walk of someone who needs help, probably the kind of help a hoarder does not provide. She walks most days almost all the day. Around our condo loop or to Publix past the YMCA. Weather does not deter her. Most of the times she has some sort of footwear but rarely is it suitable. Sometimes she talks on her phone as she walks. Sometimes she actually has a phone and sometimes she could be rehearsing for when she has a phone again and gets that all important call. She has carried a clipboard. She has been empty handed. I like when she has the ball. I like to think it is her coping mechanism. To distract herself, she throws the ball and catches it. She almost never misses.

Ramblings from influenza A

P.S. As soon as I feel better, I swear I will put the Xmas decoration boxes into storage. I triple swear.

P.S.S. If you are my friend, thank you for not giving up on me even when I am monstrously inconsiderate and annoying. I’m sorry.


  1. alysonearnest

    Powerful, Martee. When you write, you have this astonishing ability to go deep on unexpected topics, in unexpected ways, and then manage to tie it back into the original theme. Did I say POWERFUL? BIG HUGS TO YOU on many levels – starting with…..eradicating the flu. Ugh.

    Liked by 1 person

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