June 1, 2006

It is hot. The air outside on the deck is swarming with yellowjackets and no-see-ums and caterpillars dangling on silken threads from the eaves of the roof. Mom sits outside with her books and I flit from inside to outside, out in the yard to check gopher traps and refill the birdbath, back inside to the computer, never quite focused, even though I seem to sit still for hours.

I bought a book of Diana Wynne Jones short stories, and actually read all of them, until the last half of the book which had the gall to contain a novella. A novella! Who can focus long enough to read such a thing? Certainly not me. Jenn loaned me The Memoirs of Cleopatra and I gave up after a page (a sure sign of internal distress, as normally I read anything and would fawn over something the length of War and Peace just because it might keep me occupied for a whole day).

Other signs of stress and tension – yesterday I ate three donuts and drank a diet soda. Today, I am recovering with a headache and a temper to match. No more sugar – fake or otherwise. I don’t even like donuts. They were just there.

I have been printing out old patent drawings and photographs to use as drawing references for some panels I am painting for the Tour at the end of this month. That has been actually engrossing, a task from which I am interrupted rather than distracting myself. With the renewed enjoyment of painting, comes the need to carve a space out for myself to do it in – so I’ve arranged to have the bed taken out of my (unused) bedroom, where my things are scattered to the corners of the room, waiting for drawers and shelves to magically empty themselves so they can be put away. Still living out of a suitcase – a backpack, really. With the removal of the bed, I will have room for the baker’s rack that used to be in my room when I was in elementary school, and room on the floor to exercise. Room at the corners to paint, a place to set my guitar.

So I started cleaning today in order to make, um, room for them to move the bed out, and I found a bag of my old clothes from when I was a toddler on one of the shelves of the closet. I had seen it before, but not really paid attention to its contents. Today, for some reason, I emptied it out onto the bed.

I think Mom saved everything I wore the year I was three, and the four dresses she made for me when I was in kindergarten. I still remember picking my clothes out for preschool from this handful of outfits, when I was smaller than my goddaughter is now. At the bottom of the bag, the pink dress I wore to take pictures with Mom when I was just three. I remember that photo shoot, remember how Mom had a new hairstyle – instead of the long straight hair parted in the center, she had completed a course in computers and had opted for a grown-up Farrah-style cut just before we took our pictures. I remember they seated her first and took some solo shots of her while I waited in the shadows on the side and thought how different she looked.

The clothes seemed impossibly tiny. A pink dress with black edging that I wore when I was eight, which still fit me when I was ten, and hung in my closet until I was thirteen. It seems odd to find it in my closet now. It seems odd to think of that as my closet.

Mom keeps talking about wanting me to make the house my own when she is gone. Maybe this is how you are supposed to start.

It doesn’t surprise me that I put the clothes away, left the room, and can’t stop thinking about how nice it would be to take a nap.

One thought on “Summertime”

  1. Hi Brianna,

    I’ve been thinking of you lately. Wondering how this week is going for you. I love this post, I think it will be comforting to have a space of your own in the house. Reclaiming old territory. I wish I could go back to my first home, my first bedroom–we moved from there when I was 12. The house was completely remodeled by the new owners and looks nothing like it did in the 70s and 80s when I was there. The only comfort is that the Japanese Maple I used to climb every day was still there the last time I drove by. Though it didn’t look quite it happy, like it hadn’t been climbed by children in years. Somewhere my initials are carved into it. I still think of it as “my tree.” Keep painting, and share your paintings when you can! xo

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