The Purple of Life

She told me to hold on to the purple in my life.

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Location: Chicago, United States

I'm a 37-year-old editor and city dweller, wife and mother, moderately liberal and radically optimistic. I would fill my perfect day with a cup of coffee and the Op Ed section, a flea market and the playground, a run along Lake Michigan, a walk through the neighborhood with my son and my greyhound, a Cuban dinner and a bottle of red with my husband, and an evening flight to some European city. I wouldn't be picky about which one.

February 1, 2007

I like imagining

I could write about how cold it is here. That’s boring to read. But it’s been influencing how I go about my days, what I wear to work, how long Moose’s walks are, which errands are essential to run during lunchtime (answer: not many). The predicted highs for this weekend are less than 10 degrees.

I could write about how after three months away from this journal, my first entry starts with a weather anecdote. But if that’s what made me start typing on a blank screen, who am I to judge?

I could write about how John is definitely ready to become a parent. But I already think about it every day; frankly, the idea of writing about the weather is preferable.

So many times in the past three months, I’ve thought to myself, I should write about this in the journal. This is what the first line would be. But then I don’t do it, and I don’t know why. I suspect it’s laziness—that blend of lethargy and procrastination tinged with fear that all writers face. I know I need to sit down and write, but these plants need to be watered first. Then I need to floss.

A few weeks ago, while walking with John, Moose stepped on a piece of glass in our alley and sliced open his paw pad. Blood everywhere, a limping dog, both of us freaking out. Hydrogen peroxide, a hastily made bandage, a trip to the vet. Everything was fine, no infection or stitches, but the cut took forever to heal—he still limps if he steps in road salt or snow—and John left for a four-night work trip a few days after the incident. It is not fun changing a greyhound’s paw-bandage every day, taping a plastic bag over it to keep it dry in the snow. That was a long week.

I am trying to eat better, more healthily. I know; aren’t we all? I ate a lot of cookies during Christmastime. But I did pretty well in January—more vegetables, smaller portions. I need more protein, fewer sweets, fewer calories. I need to work out five days a week. I know my body will change with age, but I also know the risk factors for heart disease, and the amount of control I can have over my own health. I turned 31 last weekend. (I actually feel pretty darn good about that.)

A new storefront restaurant recently opened in our neighborhood, Indian-Pakistani cuisine. We went there for a Sunday-night meal with our neighbors and their two-year-old, whose nickname is Sly. It was an early meal—see mention of two-year-old—and Sly was more interested in running around the restaurant than eating. Luckily, we were the only ones there except for a large extended family celebrating a birthday. They were Indian, I think Muslim. Their group included some gradeschool-age girls, and Sly was fascinated with them. The kids played together, skipping around the room and giggling, while the adults ate samosas and lamb and naan and other amazingly tasty and cheap food. At the end of our meal, the Muslim family had the waiter give us a huge slice of their birthday cake. And all of us—Christian, Jewish, Muslim—dug in to the pink-and-white confection and smiled at the kids hopping back and forth between tables. Now, whenever I feel hopeless after reading front-page headlines, I remember that.

About a month and a half ago, right before Christmas, I received a letter in the mail from an address in Washington D.C. It was from the Spanish consulate there, and they were forwarding on a letter from the American embassy in Barcelona—returning my stolen driver’s license. There I was, 25 years old, pink scarf, eyes half-closed, none the worse for wear. Where has this card been since October 1? Who took it, and how did it get to the embassy? Did the police find it? A sympathetic Spaniard? A fellow American traveler? I’ll never know. But I like imagining.

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Blogger KJ's muse said...

Happy Belated Birthday!

And I'm glad to see you writing here again. :)

11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I seem to vaguely remember you saying you were going to start a family (in Spain?) - did you? Did I miss the announcement? If so, congratulations, and good luck with it.

6:37 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

No babies yet, Bex... still holding off for awhile, I think. I'm just not quite ready!

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Angie B. said...

In response to your comment, Ame, you are never really ready...and that's from a mother of two. But taking the plunge (terrifying leap?) into parenthood reaps unimaginable rewards. Including the fact that as much as you love him now, your heart will swell with more pure joy that you ever thought possible upon seeing John with your child.

I'm not pushing, just letting you know. And that's my sappy comment for the day. Love and miss you! And glad to have you writing again. :)

2:57 PM  

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