Saturday, April 22, 2017
SUNDAYS AND IRONIES
Sundays and Ironies
I was sitting there
Sipping cold hot tea
Reading yesterday's news
In a newspaper that was barely
Big as a hankerchief.
Outside, it was raining
In the middle of a sunshower
And all the unborn tulips screamed
To shove their way up from muddy Spring graves.
My nosy neighbor (who had not yet died)
Sloshed across the yard
And stood in my line of vision
Holding an arm load of soggy mail.
"Postman left it at my house." he said
And waited while I put on my bunny shoes
And slipped out into the morning, scowling
For I was not a social butterfly, to say the least.
"Thank you." I muttered
And went back into the warmth,
Slammed the door, locked it,
And kicked it for good measure.
I won't repeat here what I repeated then
For all the mail was wet and opened and read
Even the bills (and it was Sunday for pete's sakes!)
And all my love letters from you were missing.
I threw everything in the trash
Swallowed the last drop of tea,
And made my way to the den
To watch the broken t.v. that only had sound.
Same ole same ole......
The cat dropped down out of his hiding place
Above my head, from the third row of classics,
Books about travels, and my father's comics.
He gave me a glare
Because I had shifted defensively in the chair
And instead of my comfy chest,
He landed on my knobby knee and the remote control.
"Serves you right!" I scolded
"Always dropping in uninvited."
And he gave me the look, you know the one,
Licked my hand and then bit the hell out of my face.
The telephone didn't ring
Most probably because I hadn't paid the bill
And somewhere off in the distance,
(Well, in the next room, actually) a faucet dripped.
Ah, Sundays! The day of rest and relaxation
The day of cats and rain and cups of tea,
Boring newspapers and nosy neighbors,
And indescribable loneliness.............
I felt like growling
But decided that the cat would take that
As a call to arms and so kept my growl inside
And pulled him to my chest and purred.
Two hours later
A siren wailed it's way through the neighborhood,
Down my street, and came to a stop next door
And to my neighbor who lay sprawled on his front porch.
"What's happened?" I inquired, still holding the cat
And peeking over the emergency crews' shoulders
"Looks like a cardiac arrest." one said, eyeing me
"Must have been something he read."
And then I saw the pile of white envelopes
With Air Mail stamps on them
Flown over from France and Spain and New Guinea
Your letters, to me, from you, and not, him.
They were opened
And splotched with rain,
The ink running down precious pages
Filled with sentences that ended in my name
And meant only for my eyes.
"Why the dirty, low down.....!"
And I snatched up the letters and dropped the cat
And almost stumbled over the fallen mail thief
As I looked into the open door of his kitchen.
There, on his untidy table
Lay a note pad and a pen,
A dozen more letters,
And an envelope addressed to me.
"My Dearest Beloved....."
The note pad read
"I have loved you from afar
Lo, these many, many years
And now I must needs spill my heart."
"What the h---!"
I exclaimed and grabbed the letter,
Brought it up to my puzzled eyes and read
So many things I wish I had never read.
"Your lover is a cad." he wrote
"He does not love you and is not faithful."
In one letter he describes his affair with a Countess,
And in another, a pole dancer from the French Riviera."
"WWWWhaat?" I cried, disbelievingly
"When did my William write such garbage?"
And I tore open the letters and scanned them, shocked
And sank down onto the grimy yellow kitchen floor.
"Lady, are you okay?"
The medics called as they continued their job
Of reviving an unrevivavable man
(And for his sake, they'd better fail! I thought.)
I waved my hand in answer
And got back to my feet,
Sat at the table and finished reading
The story of my pathetic, unsuspecting life.
"I have always watched out for you."
He wrote, "And always kept the burglars away"
"I've mowed your lawn and you never noticed,
Fed your cat, and brought in the mail when you were gone."
("Yeah, you creep, you brought it to your house!")
I cursed below my breath and read on
"You are my sunshine and the joy of my life," he wrote
And I will always, always, until my dying day, love you truly."
"But yesterday came the news that your darling cheating boy,
Had decided it was time to settle down
(He's probably out of money)
And was asking you to marry him
And I couldn't let that happen before I wrote to you."
Signed what?! He didn't sign it! There was no signature!
And then I realized that I didn't even know his name
After all those years of living right next door.
The medics said quietly, their job finished
And one of them looked at me and whispered,
I got to my feet
And watched them load him into the ambulance
As the rain began to pour harder through the pale sunshine
And as they pulled away, I felt a strange and bitter thing.
My cat ran in the open door
Wet, and exasperated as only cats do
Wound himself around my ankles and sighed
A wonderful feline sound, yet oddly human.
I gatherered up all my letters
And the letter yet unmailed,
Looked around for strings untied and tied them,
Turned out the lights and pulled the door closed behind me.
Halfway across the lawns
Between his house and mine,
I saw a red tulip pop it's head out of the ground
As if to say, "Hello! Farewell! Auf Wiedersehen! Goodbye!"
And I remembered that I had never planted tulips.
Running back into the shuttered house
I found the note pad laying where I'd left it
Took up the pen and brushed stray rain drops from my eyes
"THANK YOU FOR LOVING ME." I wrote and ran.
Five months later
A new man moved in next door
I sat and watched him carrying boxes inside
It was a sunshiney day and the lawn was ablaze with color.
It was ablaze with color
Because I had worked all summer to make it so
Me and the cat
Because he, too, missed the man who had given him free milk.
"Beautiful place here." the new man spoke
Rousing me from my reverie at the open window
"Yes, it is." I said shyly, for he was very good looking
"Welcome to the neighborhood."
"Thank you." He said, turning
And I remembered. "Wait!" I cried
And handed him a letter. "The post man left it here by mistake."
"Hmmm." he said, taking it from my hand, puzzled
And I hoped he wouldn't notice the tears and tape.
Not a playboy,
Not a doctor,
And that was good to know.
March 28, 2010