Hello darling, how are you my love? I hope all is well with you. I need to keep this post simple. This morning I set about to do minor revisions on yesterday evening's post, and it kept crashing, losing photographs in one re-publication, huge blocks of text in others. I think the post may have been too long for the blogger program. The post was too long, period. I had so much to say... and I was trying to say too much in a single post. Better to take things little glimpses, single bites, at a time. And yet I had this whole experience to recount.
But for the moment, I have a pan of lemon-mushroom-tarragon chicken simmering on the stove, which we'd have with rice except that I discovered we ran out, so we'll have egg noodles instead, and steamed asparagus. Gwynnie is up here companionably with me, grooming herself on the rug. I managed my little triathlon today - workout, sweet session, walk. There are thin patches of snow here & there on the sides of roads and northfacing banks. It was sunny today, the sun beginning its arching dip, amber in the sky, as I took my late afternoon walk. I thought about you, and how you'd grazed your hand on my shoulder - I reacted inwardly, though not out. I imagine stealing a touch of you back (even if in a full room, but everyone chattering, preoccupied, distracted) when no one's looking...
So there are a few more details to the E.D. soiree saga. (I am so not a journalist - I am having trouble "reporting" on my visit - it's a different writerly muscle, I guess.) So - perhaps just phrases - snapshots
a very lovely couple, high-school English teachers from Rochester, she convivial and bright, he smiling & bemused, both very nice, cool, intelligent
we chatted at the soiree - she was enamored of the ginger bars that had been set out on the sweets table
we rode together in a minivan shuttle that transported the party to E.D.'s house - The Homestead - about a one minute drive - what might have been a five-minute walk (but it was cold & dark, and the roads are poorly lit)
the schoolteacher, seated in front, in the darkness of the van, asked me, - did you have much of the ginger tart? no, I replied, I was too enamoured of the camembert. Oh, she responded dreamily, I have such a thing for ginger...
It was very dark when we arrived, and a full moon shone above the house. (Don't tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass, admonishes A. Chekhov just now.) Well let's see - the interior windows of the house were warmly and mysteriously illuminated as in a Magritte. I was trying to figure out which upstairs windows were E.D.'s room. I am still trying to figure that out. I don't have a firm spatial sense of the house, though it wasn't large. But partygoers were ushered in through the back door entrance, and rooms have been reconfigured over the years. What is now the gift shop - was originally the kitchen. What is now an expository exhibits room - was once the dining room (where I was trying to imagine Mabel & Austin, though couldn't, for all the glass museum cases stuffed into the tiny room).
I think E.D.'s bedroom is at the upper right - but I wouldn't swear to it. Sorry, darling. So which particular window she sat at and tended to see everything thru - I couldn't say. So I have decided to take that observation, for myself, quite metaphorically.
I don't know that I derived all that much of the tour of the house. Actually, it wasn't a tour - it was more that the literary cocktail party had moved over here. Which was fine. So there were docents, costumed for the evening - but they held stuffed cats - and the ones I encountered while friendly didn't seem particularly knowledgeable.
It was all good mild fun - actually, darling - you too 1.0 - you would have hated it. And I lost my patience ultimately as well. We were ushered in twos and threes up the narrow wallpapered staircase (where I imagined E.D. sitting on the stairs). Upstairs was a short corridor, off which were three small rooms, two on the right, one on the left. I was most curious - of course - about E.D.'s bedroom, the second on the right. But there was a costumed utterly annoying guard there, preventing anyone from going in. Which is fine, I have no problem with that. But there was this silly conceit going on as well - a costumed Emily - a young woman in a white gown, hair undone, at her tiny desk scribbling, back to the door. We musn't disturb Emily, the costumed cop implored over & over like a broken record...
I had really just wanted a glimpse of the room, if not to enter it, then to be able to contemplate its configuration - size, fenestration, furnishings - on my own, in relative quiet... or at least informed, interesting observation [in my mind's eye, fantasizing in advance this event - I had imagined that it might be Jerome himself who would be giving his own private, personal, nuanced tour of the place].
Anyway, this woman at the doorway of E.D.'s bedroom was extremely vigilant at her post, chanting over and over, "Emily simply won't come down for her birthday, but I'm sure she won't mind if you wish her a happy birthday," and I'm staring into this dimly lit room with this stranger annoyingly bleating in my ear, and I finally blurted out, would you please be quiet please, so that I can contemplate this room? Unfortunately I used the word "meditate" - but I meant contemplate - you see, darling, I'm not so verbal - when it comes to speaking.
I had shocked the woman into silence, and I suppose it was okay in the end - I think perhaps even she understood.
But as I whispered to my English-teacher ginger-enamored friend on the stairs on the way down - I could have done without the faux-Emily.
Darling, sweetheart - all my love -
hope to see you soon -
can you believe how long it's been? and yet it's like yesterday