Betty Duffy

Monday, March 30, 2009

"Busy Old Fool, Unruly Sun" or "Openness to Life" or "Life Stinks and Then You Die"

Warning: It's cringeworthy

Rather than fulfilling the demands of the two-year-old who would have his breakfast, I lift the covers enough to invite him to join me in bed. The baby is still sleeping on one side of me, and now this little boy makes swooshing noises as he flies his matchbox airplane over our heads.

I lift my arm to cover my eyes and block out the sun for a few more minutes and smell the deodorant entrenched in the armpit of my husband’s t-shirt, in which I slept, mingling with my own ripe arms in need of a shower. My breath, thank God, I cannot smell, and evanescing from it all, last night’s pheromones, which my son, who brings his own bouquet to this scene, does not detect. He has syrup from yesterday’s pancakes crisp in his hair, a diaper that reeks of urine, his breath which has not yet begun to decay, commingling with the baby’s spit-up seeping into the mattress. Behind us, pillows turn bitter with the perspiration and drool deposited each night where my husband and I lay our heads.

There’s something comforting in all of this good stink. Like leaves rotting around the base of a tree, the artifacts of the body are dropped and left to decay, a testimony that life, well lived, has and continues to take place here.

There will be time for perfection later, for charming coverlets, and dustless corners. One of these days, we will stop breaking things, stop knicking the wood floors and smearing the walls and countertops. The house will be sterilized of our presence here, bleached out for someone else to envision some “dull, sublunary” modes of repose within these walls.

H/T John Donne
“Valediction Forbidding Mourning”
“The Sun Rising”


Emily said...

TMI on the pheromones, Duffy.

Betty Duffy said...

It's been too long since I've taken things a step too far. I feel like embarrassing someone--better me than you, right?

Kaighla said...

Oh gosh. This was uplifting.