It’s an ordinary day. The boiler didn’t work this morning – I forgot to have it serviced this fall, just like last fall – so I shivered at home while I waited for the plumber to come. Then the high school evacuated at 10 a.m. because of a bomb threat. Ian was happy to have a day off from school, but I had a good 30-minute panic attack. Colin had no such reprieve from school, and checked the porch every half hour after he got home to see if his new manga books had arrived. Later in the afternoon Ian’s basketball team won their game.
At 7 I went to a play, Nice Fish, at the ART, about two friends ice fishing in Minnesota in March. It was a good play, although I dozed off and missed one character entirely. I particularly liked the monologue about the bologna sandwich with the bite out of the middle.
Mat would have liked it too. Not just the bologna sandwich part, although he would have liked that, but also the ice fishing, because he liked to fish, and the two main characters, and the absurdist nature of the play, and especially the bit at the end (spoiler alert) where the two friends transform into an old married couple and are lifted off the stage in their underwear by giant fish.
When I ran out of ideas for what to buy Mat for Christmas, I would buy him theater subscriptions. We spent a season at the ART (our favorite by far), and one at the Huntington, and another one at the New Rep in Watertown. I bought Mat another subscription just as he was quitting chemo, in the fall of 2010. It was a vote of confidence, I suppose, that he would live through another theater season, although I’m quite certain I didn’t feel confident at the time.
Or maybe it was a command: “Mat, we have theater tickets in March. You have to live long enough to see Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
He didn’t cooperate. Maybe I should have picked a more compelling spring play.
I wonder when I will stop seeing my life through the lens of Mat’s absence. As in, Mat would have really liked the BBC series I just finished binge-watching, Broadchurch. And, I would have called Mat about my morning bomb-threat panic attack and cried instead of holding it together. And also, Mat would have played basketball with Ian, and taught him how to dribble, and he would have liked Colin’s manga drawings even more than I do.
Now I’m home and it's almost time to get the kids to bed.
It’s cold out – well below freezing – so the cat thinks about going outside but changes his mind and stays in. Until I start practicing my flute. Then it doesn’t matter that it’s cold. By the time I get to my E flat major scale, about one minute into my practicing, he’s pawing at the door and yowling, anxious to get out. I stop practicing long enough to let him go.
Mat would have saved me from getting a cat.