Moon in Cancer

She’s always been always in motion. My mother the verb. So constant that it’s just the background of the life we shared. She has her routines, her daily habitual motions. Happy to chatter about whatever topic is in the air, or quietly intently listen, or fall into hypnotic precise patterns of movement: puttering with plants, chopping vegetables for soup, sweeping away clutter, knitting or embroidering as a nervous habit, something to do with her fine, quick fingers while she talks or watches a news program on tv “to keep in touch” or listens to music while swaying along, then dancing as she stands to move to another task. She’s never slept much.

Neither Celia nor I were the kind of girls that had slumber parties with our girly friends. Though generally well liked, Celia had no time for friends when she was growing up. There were always chores, responsibilities, managing to keep up her studies in available moments to keep up stellar grades while helping at home with housework and watching over her younger sisters. Her mom, Grandma Angie, was busy working, as a high school English teacher and on projects of community and school politics she considered part of her career. Then, as Celia got older there were whatever jobs she could fit in after school, weekends, summers, to save for college, along with all the rest of those responsibilities she seemed to have been born to take on. She would tell me of her younger life without complaint or rancor, but to help explain her habit to take on responsibility, to explain some of the contentious differences between her ways of being and mine.

I was just unlikeable by the kids I grew up around. Cute and clever had not yet found their way into my social strategy, except with the more sophisticated grown-ups of my aunt’s crowd who always made me feel so adored. The kids in my neighborhood and their parents just found me weird and intolerant. It was some kind of private badge of honor for me to feel superior and apart. This was not an attitude I dropped at home. But there were those late nights when neither Celia nor I were into sleeping. We would make up silly stories or snuggle over cocoa and late night tv movies or share a quiet space each involved in private projects.

I can see her energy is so low. Rather than long hours of sleep, though, she dozes from time to time on the couch, amidst her current projects. I don’t feel lonely. She is intensely interested in anything I say, everything I am willing to share. I am, rather, emotionally in free fall. It’s ok. It all feels real. Intensely real. My life recapitulated and more immediate. I feel like Alice when she had grown so large that the rest of the world was out of proportion so that her mind had to search for new measures, new relationships to the familiar. Strangely, I don’t miss my usual life. I feel I am where I belong for now. Of course I miss Tom. He has been so beyond wonderful in all of this. When I called and cried and cried and cried before I could talk at all, he held my heart in his listening.

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