Gallup

truck in Gallup

We buried her uncle in Phoenix, as the saying goes. A memorial service for Roger, the favorite, cremated and sealed in a vault. There were palm trees and Canada geese and cousins galore, an avalanche of emotion for the love of my life. On the way home we learned that another uncle had died, this one the last, up in Iowa. Of Tom it is said he survived World War II but not Shirley.

On the first leg of the trip we bivouacked in Holbrook. The wifi worked not, there were freight trains all night, and we threw the free breakfast away. I confronted the manager who’s probably dead now. (When I checked out I saw she’d been crying.) Uncles, motels, so much wreckage and blame.

On the way back near Gallup a Hampton Inn beckoned. The staff were all Natives and lifted the place. The decor was healthy and did not offend. The room was attractive and calm. After all we’d been through, mostly all right but exhausting, it felt like a home to us just for one night. We stood there in shock with our bags on the floor, grateful but mortal and done. I remembered my wife in the car, counting the years between her and her uncles. Surely it’s not over yet, but those numbers, my God. She was so happy the room was so nice. I hugged her and thought of how fleeting it was and I cried.

Sunday Feature

inside the old adobe

Got way too good at looking for trouble like my daddy taught me. I mean, you probably think that view’s askew, but soon it’s like an old damn shirt and you won’t see the cobwebs. Anyway, here we are in heaven. Good to understand that. God’s living room, I call it, and everyone’s allowed to rearrange the furniture. “Is this all there is?” Well, yes. No doo-dah angels waiting in the wings. Heaven, I tell you. Everything. Right here.

Gonna take a little trip to Arizona. I love being able to say that. About 600 miles each way and I have scheduled overnights. Very uncharacteristic. But Brad’s Desert Inn in Holbrook for 60 bucks a night plus “free earplugs for the train noise” pulled me in. You get to park right in front of your room, too. The other day I looked up my mother’s old doublewide in that “mobile home retirement community” in Tucson where the residents ride golf carts flying huge American flags to the edge of the desert to let their chihuahuas shit in the cactus, only reason I’m not sitting there now for $59k, thank you Jesus for the nails. The Google Earth view was recent enough that I could see how the idiots who bought it cleared out all the native plants along the west side of the only property in the whole damn place that actually borders a natural arroyo. I used to visit when she was sane and watch javelinas and Gambel’s quail go marching through there of an evening. Helen would put out leftovers to attract them, but it’s all gone now.

Meanwhile, I’ve decided to be helpful instead of scared. The jury is still out on that, but hey I wrote some words.

What Do You Do?

What Do You Do? post image

What do you do when you see, when you finally see? When you see that you’ve always seen and constantly ignored the bleeding obvious? When she hurts this much and it’s all your fault? When she gave you everything and you kept asking for more? What the hell do you do?

“If you were a different sort of woman, you’d have killed me by now.”

“I hurt…”

“I know… It’s my damn turn and I’ve put it off so long…”

“I hurt…and I don’t know what to do…”

[Comments closed.]

Oxygen

author at rest

Maybe get up and shave now

Three or four years ago I thought I was dying. Just walking up the driveway took away my breath. I’d wake up at 3:00 a.m. unable to breathe unless I got up and walked around until I felt stable enough to google all the horrible shit that might be wrong with me. Bought an oximeter and scared myself silly. On my usual four mile hike I’d run out of gas on the upgrades and panic about making it back to the car. The main thing though was waking up at night and feeling like I couldn’t get enough air. Bloated you see. Gas in my stomach that crowded the lungs. Burp like a sonofabitch, sleep, wake up and die… Most of this I kept hidden so I’d be free to keep worrying about everything else.

Yes of course I went to my doctor. I hardly ever do but both of us are cool with that. He wondered if I was lactose intolerant. Me the biggest milk drinker on the planet my whole goddamn life. I freaking love milk. My whole diet was predicated on what I could wash down with great gulping glasses of ice-cold milk. My body knew best and my body said milk. Come on man. So naturally I thought he was wrong.

Well…

No testing no nothing. Haven’t seen the guy for a couple of years. Remember I had more googling to do. After all my lungs might be damaged. My heart might be failing. My ears certainly were and a few other things so don’t take this lightly right? Watch me wear out MayoClinic.com.

Then a couple of weeks ago I made a bad face and sloshed my wife’s almond milk over my cereal like she’d been telling me to. We must have been all out of milk is all I can figure ’cause almond milk Jesus. Probably make me grow titties and leaves in my crotch. It tasted pathetic but I didn’t swell up.

We did buy more milk but I stopped drinking it at night and then tapered off altogether. What the hell would I eat now much less drink. I still don’t know what I’m doing but I’m not drinking milk. Cheese and yogurt for sure but no leche and I’m watching the cheese. Jesus the doctor was right. Not one instance of bloating and belching for 14 days now and it seems like my lungs are still clearing from mucous and crap.

When I test my blood oxygen now the percentage is several points higher than it’s ever been here at 7,000 feet. Did you hear? Several points higher. For two weeks I haven’t awakened at night not even to pee. Just sitting here typing it feels like my lungs have doubled in size. There’s less sinus congestion as well. I breathe in and there’s nothing but space in my nose as the air pours into my lungs which are huge healthy and fine. All the damn oxygen all the damn time.

Oxygen, oxygen.

Come here you’re mine.

Tunnel

Costilla, NM

Costilla, NM

He awakened in spider webs with husks of dead moths and beetles in his hair. Yellowed newspaper pages lay about the floor and his clothes were grimed with dust. What may have been a squirrel was in the corner in what sunlight made it through the window as the clouds of autumn gathered in the mountains.

Do you remember the small black and white cat dead by the side of the road?

For several days he drove by and wondered why no one removed it. Finally it was bloated with stiff little legs poking out at the highway and the the day after that the county animal control guy shoveled it up. Less than a week later there was a brown pit bull lying dead in the same spot. Then someone covered it with a blue plastic tarp that didn’t stay down but flapped in the wind. A couple days later someone pinned the thing down with a dozen small rocks but the dog was still there. There were dreams like no other. Pure evil and madness. Pain in the heart.

A fresh ground squirrel jumped up on the window sill and stayed for a time. It was dark with tan speckles and wriggled its nose then slipped to the ground as the dry stalks of tall grass shook in the breeze.

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