Now that Beloved is gone he seems, in memory, almost perfect in every way. No, no! he hasn’t died!... instantly and painlessly, after leading a long, happy and productive life; leaving the children and me intact here with nothing to divert our interests but a wealthy and handsome new widower neighbor from Texas who is very masculine due to cattle round ups and such; though not such a hick that he doesn’t know his way around a good Gevrey-Chambertin …but I digress. No, Beloved has taken the younger boys back to Florida for Easter break. Oldest and I have stayed in San Francisco so he can attend his crew practice and I can attend to all those things I never get around to because of my domestic responsibilities.
There are, in fact, so many things I have not attended to that my head spins thinking about them, and I promptly come down with a horrible virus. Oldest has spent the night with a friend in Sonoma, so I am all alone. It is awful being sick by oneself. I lie on the bathroom floor and cry softly thinking how sad Beloved would be if I were to die. Then I remember no one is there to witness my pitifulness so I stop. The only thing that keeps me going during that long night are the weigh-ins with my bathroom scale in-between crawling from bed to vomiting and back again.
Micki calls me first thing the next morning to see how I am…okay, fine, I call her first thing to tell her I am very, very ill. “You are?! Did you throw up? How many pounds did you lose!” she asks as if asking how much money I won at slots. She promises to bring me some ginger ale but warns me the weight I’ve lost is really water weight, and if I drink too much I’ll ruin my kick start. I hang up after assuring her I’ll not drink too many liquids.
I lie in my bed unable to do much but think about how much I miss my family. How darling my boys are! What a good man Beloved is and what a wonderful profile he has! I can’t believe I even considered thinking about some red-neck-y Texan! I start to cry again and decide to call Beloved in spite of the time difference. Youngest answers the phone, and in a feeble voice I ask him if he’s having fun. “Oh yes Mommy! So much fun! Grandma is so nice! Way nicer than you. She actually counts when we ask her to time us and doesn’t just yell ’18!’ when she thinks we’re done. Can we stay here forever?!”
When Beloved finally comes to the phone I resume my pitiful voice and tell him of the horrible night I spent. “Really! How much weight did you lose?” he inquires cheerfully. “Um, not sure yet…just waiting to get a bit more dehydrated before I…” “You know, now that you mention it I am not feeling so well myself. My mother may have to watch the boys a bit while I rest.” I hang up before we get in a fight.
The phone rings, and I'm thrilled to hear it’s my darling Barb! She is in New York having the time of her life with a group of friends. She does not seem to notice the pain and frailty of my voice. As she tells her stories of their merry-making my voice gets fainter and weaker until finally she yells, “Can you please speak up! I can’t hear a word you’re saying! Ohhhh…you’re sick? Really! That many times? How much weight did you lose?”