29 June 2013

by jkatejohnston

Dear Max,

I’ve been feeling a tiny bit defensive about having said that most of life ranges between shitty and boring when my life’s so good most of the time. But that’s just luck and probably temporary. What I mean is, one weekend, you paint the front of your house, the next weekend your cancer comes back. And that’s not strange, that’s life. Yesterday at work, I had a two-hour training on bedsores.

And I remember in the Hardy class, some people—one of them was probably me—were complaining about all the bad things that happen to Tess. What’s wrong with Hardy? Why doesn’t he save her? And my god it’s just one thing after another. It seems so unlikely. So Mr. Stephens told us that when his family moved into the house where they live now, his wife got to know an old lady who’d lived on the street for a long time, the neighborhood historian. And they were horrified to learn that tragedy had struck nearly every home, as if the street were cursed. But later they thought about it and realized that they just happened to run into the person who happened to know everything. I think Mr. Stephens just left it at that. He wasn’t one to over-explain things. (And that’s not the way he put it of course. How I wish I had notes from that class.) But what I want to add now is that we usually just don’t know about other people’s catastrophes, or the disaster is so remote from us that we quickly forget. Disaster isn’t rare. Jist you wait.


Summer’s here. Sizzle-sizzle. A couple of nights ago Enzo and the kid from down the street were out on the sidewalk until almost bedtime taking turns spraying each other with the hose. One would make a fountain and the other would run through, screaming and hitching up his wet, heavy shorts.

Meanwhile some new neighbors were moving in next door. College kids. Boys. I saw two of them lifting a huge amp out of the back of a truck and thought, Oh shit, they have a band. And felt elderly. Afterward I told Teresa and we rolled our eyes. Enzo must have been listening because he’s been telling people ever since that our new neighbors are rock stars.


Yesterday at work I was so tired, and I was thinking how lovely it would be if they had one of those blood drives, and I could just lie back and close my eyes for half an hour while they take my blood. In my fantasy about this I was all relaxed and settled in and then the technician said, “Okay, all done!” and I was like, “Can’t you just take a tiny bit more? How about my organs? Anything I have two of.”


Enzo: For your birthday, you get to read for two hours! (I am so cashing in on that.)