(Marshall Tucker Band reference)
We are stashing provisions as if a hurricane were coming. Last night, my wife made a turkey.
A turkey. Like a 28 pound turkey!
I look into the second refrigerator, and it is filled with new bread and fresh fruit and cold vegetables. We are in for the long haul.
Last time, people brought food, enough to feed an entire neighborhood. I remember, later, looking at pictures of all of this, and wondering if they had a party to celebrate my cancer. Of course, they did not. They were supporting their friend, my wife, and being there for her, perhaps for me. Still, the pictures annoy me to this day. Why is everybody smiling?
So we are preparing for a hurricane. That used to mean that I would board up the patio’s sliding doors, duct tape the remaining windows in the house, despite my own protestations, and then, when all was but a whimper and a dream, remove the boards, remove the tape, and visualize the devaluation of our home before my very eyes.
Now, we are preparing for a hurricane of a different kind. An emotional hurricane, I guess.
As I write this, my wife and my son are cleaning the house as is normally done only for weddings and serious holidays. People will be coming; that is my guess. I will be in the hospital, in another zone, and they will all retreat to the house to enjoy one another’s company until it is time to be with me. I understand that. I am glad, truly happy, that my wife will have supportive people around her, that my son will be involved and that his friends will be here for him.
The hurricane will come.
My wife will not be wrong this time: the hurricane will come.
Understand this: it will be my hurricane. I will be the eye of the storm. I will be the reason for everything that is happening now and everything that will happen in the days to come. I will be the calm middle of all of it. Around me, the winds will howl, the days will turn to night, dogs will whimper, cats will yowl, mountains will crumble and islands will rumble and dice will tumble.
I will sleep, there in the calm, there in the eye, dreaming of Tahitian nectar, nubile dancers, Parisian cafes where we drink strong coffee with a touch of brandy and exult at the art along the long river, rainy walks along the Thames with your dog and mine, as if it were meant to be so, I will be there in the eye, in the calm.