Moon in Libra

She takes notes when she reads, takes reading seriously, as if still in school. She writes classical poetry, endlessly edited. She likes 60s/70s era classic rock and jazz, sings bits of songs as they wander through her head. When I was little she would dance me around the room, picking me up, twirling me about, losing our separateness in the music. Today we can dance around the room together as equals, to the old tunes evoking memories. She likes to dress comfortably in cotton and wool, sturdy leather shoes with flat heals, no make-up except when socially expected, her mid-length brown hair loose or tied in a sensible knot securely pinned. Her manner is more wistfully practical, gently ironic, than no-nonsense. She doesn’t complain or catastrophize. She likes everything in its place, including emotions. She watches C-SPAN and the Comedy Central fake news, but says lately all the bickering makes her tired. The tv has hardly been on since I’ve been here.

I have been able to do some writing assignments on her computer. Over the ‘net by email, it doesn’t matter to the magazine editors where I’m sending from. Information I need to research for my articles is also thus convenient. Not that I need to maintain gainful employment as Celia has my expenses covered, small as they are. She took early retirement from work when she learned she was sick, always thoughtful giving her employer plenty of lead time to find a replacement. She’s always been a pay as you go consumer, no debt and over the years a good amount of savings. She bought this place outright from what she got selling our old house. She tells me she has arranged for the bills to be paid on a regular schedule so if she gets too ill to manage it all will still be taken care of automatically. Whatever is left, including this condo, will be mine to do with as I like when she’s gone. Certainly not enough to make me rich, but I won’t have to concern myself with finances for a long while. Still, it doesn’t hurt to keep my hand in, keep up contacts and skills. I write anyway. I may as well send it out to be read.

She is so matter of fact, telling me about her arrangements, every detail in place. She’s always been like that. It can be both soothing and maddening. Danny found it soothing. Marie found it maddening. At this point I find it endearing. She is who she is without apologies or aggrandizement. She deserves respect for that; she’s earned it. She has made a life that is hers without back-up or recognition. I always have to be “Oh, look at me! Look how good I’m doing, how valuable and wonderful I am.” She did that for Danny, admired him, gave him all the back-up, recognition, applause (metaphoric and real) that made him able to glow his shining glory. I can tell, even from the distant and erratic contact we have had these many years, that Gwen does not do that for him. What there is of him now is but a shell of what he was then. We do not talk much of him, only on the fringes of conversation on times past, mostly even that only by association. In a way he is what has kept us apart. I know in many ways I am like him, that she’s made deeply happy in a quiet special place to see those parts of him in me. I am the synthesis of a great tragic love, the brutal poignant tragedy Celia always attempts to capture in her poetic words of ancient worlds.

I am becoming acclimated to my life here. It is new, though in some sense a recapitulation of previous episodes of the story of Celia and me. It’s not just that we are in a different physical place, or a different temporal place in our lives. In a way I am waxing as she is waning. We are linear beings meeting on the mystic plains of destiny. Here we share reflections of each other in a set and setting we have never before experienced. The stark strangeness of reality is always amazing me. Celia likes everything to be in its very own place. In this particular onwardly rushing now, my place is here. My quest is to learn my roots and stalks and leaves and the many layers of love and history between Celia and me. I don’t know why this is so important, so impelling, only that it is all that I am or can be right now.

You know, that artistic temperament, making grand gestures from mundane fate. Yeah, Mama Celia, this is your time; but I am the legend of my own mind. Yet, we both know you love me for that grandiosity as much as any of my inherent traits. Aren’t we a pair? Or with Pandora a trio — the three-headed Goddess: Mother, Daughter, and wise old Cat.

I feel I am doing your bidding, Goddess. I am truly becoming a woman, at last, cognizant of my place as inheritor of generations of women. We are each our own story, our own bright varicolored thread, and part of a greater tapestry.

I suddenly feel like baking a cake. We never did have a proper birthday celebration. I hope I can find candles.

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