What a day! All is well. I have no pictures but I do have images in my mind. Several times I wanted to take Mr. Moon's picture. He is just so handsome to me, so leonine in his older age. In him I can certainly see the young man he was when we met and I love that boy so filled with self-assurance and the strength and heart to back it all up. I'd never even dated a jock, as far as I know, and here was this former basketball player, in prime physical shape who smiled more than anyone I ever met. I will never forget an early image I have of him- a photo of the mind. We were in a grocery store and he had a fifty-pound bag of dog food slung over his shoulder like I might have carried a kitten, and he was as happy and beaming and carried himself as if he were being presented to the queen. I may have fallen in love with that boy but the man I love now is so much more beautiful to me. His white hair and his face are the markers of a man who has spent his life working hard to take care of a family. They represent to me all of the years we have spent together, all of the difficulties we've had, the joyous times we've had, this very life we've shared.
Well. That was not where I meant to go and yet, I did, which is okay. It is all true. I wanted to take his picture but I knew he would not want me to. I mean, who wants their picture taken pre-surgery or even post-surgery?
No one. But take my word for this- he looked...well, the word that keeps coming to my mind is "noble."
Yes. Perhaps that is the exact right word.
I got up at five. Since he couldn't eat or drink he slept another half hour. I bumbled about getting dressed and eating a yogurt and we got out of here at six but before we'd gotten to the interstate, I realized I'D LEFT MY PHONE AT HOME!
"You'll be fine without it," he said.
"Oh no I won't," I said. And he turned back and I ran into the house to find it on the counter next to Jack. Both cats were sincerely confused at us being up this early. Maurice looked even more worried than she usually does.
And although we lost a few minutes because of my forgetfulness, we still got to the medical facility a few minutes early. It looked as if it were not even open, the lights in it still dim. Another car was parked there with two women in it and then Glen saw a receptionist at the desk inside and so we went in.
This was a surgery center and as the minutes passed and way before it began to really get light, people were coming in from the cold (there was frost on the windshield this morning) and standing in line to get their forms and then filling them out and sitting down to wait.
The words "waiting room" say it all, don't they?
But eventually they called him back and I went with him and they did all the things you have to do and told him all the things you have to be told and the nurse who was going to be there at the surgery was so funny and so sweet. She is fifty-seven years old and has an eighteen year old granddaughter. Now she's lived a life!
And hasn't everyone? So many stories. As I sat in the waiting room waiting for his surgery to be over and to be called back, I could not help but study the people. Couples, mostly. Older couples for the most part. Holding hands or just holding on to each other, a hand on a thigh, a hand on an arm. And then real excitement! A prisoner was brought in, handcuffed and accompanied by at least five people. Four men and a woman? No sidearms that I saw, at least. And he may have been coming from a psychiatric hospital. I don't know. But it was difficult for him to walk and he was a small man, head bowed, and he looked confused and unsure of his surroundings as the people with him steered him with hands on his back, hands on the wide leather belt that his cuffs were attached to. They cleared out a small, separate waiting room and oh, how I would have liked to have known that story. What had this small man done? What was he having surgery for? He almost looked like he'd been beat up. Maybe he was.
When the woman sent out to fetch him to take him back for his pre-op, she said to the entire group (they all went with him), "Welcome to the surgery center," and for some reason that just tore my heart.
Finally they called me back and there was my man, all fixed up, dopey but not in pain. After he got dressed and the nurse had given us all of our post-op instructions, I got to meet the doctor and if I've ever met a doctor I liked more than my beloved Dr. Zorn, this might have been the one. He was tall and slender, in his sixties (he's about to retire), handsome and with a nose that had obviously been broken at some point which only added to his interest. He called Mr. Moon by his first name and before he left, they had bonded over being jocks (the doctor had played football) and the resulting injuries that plague them to this day, and the doctor joked with me about how I should talk to his wife because she knows what it's like to be married to a former jock and I told him that I was learning myself after thirty-eight years.
"Y'all are great!" he kept saying. And so of course I found him delightful.
And he said all had gone well, which of course is the most important thing.
On the way home we stopped at a McDonald's (horror!) because I was so hungry and although my Egg McMuffin went down nicely, his Sausage McMuffin did not. Poor baby. We stopped at Publix to get his pain med prescription filled. They said it would be an hour so I drove him back to Lloyd and then I went back to town, stopped at the library because I had books dreadfully overdue and then back to Publix where I got his prescription and did my shopping because why not? I knew he was settled in his chair with coffee and water and his pillow and blankets and was probably sleeping.
By the time I got home, put everything away, folded a load of laundry, fed us both some tomato soup and grilled cheese, I was exhausted myself so after making sure he was fine, I crawled back into bed and coma-slept for an hour and a half. I haven't taken a nap in well over a year but I needed one today.
I cannot believe that it was only yesterday that I took care of August and Levon. It seems like another lifetime ago.
And so that was that.
I have checked on our tomatoes to see if they got harmed by the frost but they look to be fine, as do the peppers. My basil got nipped a little but it will recover. As we sat in the car this morning, waiting for the windshield to defrost, Glen said, "I told you I should have covered the tomatoes."
"And I told you it was too early to plant them," I said.
We both laughed.
And this, too, is long-love, marriage, when two people, one of whom is about to get a little surgery, are in a car with a frosted-over windshield in the 6 a.m. darkness, faux-bickering to make each other laugh. And then holding hands on the way to town, me sipping the coffee from the cup he'd poured for me, tempering it first with hot water, even though he could not have any himself.
As I said at the beginning, all is well.