The Zoo Keeper

I plunk my chubby body down into an outdoor green steel chair that is covered with grime. It doesn’t matter that I have lost 20 lbs, I think of myself as chubby, probably always will. I see the portable telephone out of the corner of my eye, my eyeglasses, a crumpled Living Simple magazine bent over.  I am trying to sit in the sun for a few moments, not because I want to but because people tell me I should. I finally got dressed out of my night-time Tee shirt into an old blue shirt and black track pants. I had even put on sneakers as if I was really going to walk somewhere but I knew it was all a mind game.

My dog came out with me, she didn’t want to play either, and she sat by my side as I ran my nails through her thick black, white and tan fur. She knows better than anyone that I really don’t want visitors, don’t need visitors, when I am not feeling well. With the exception of my dog, who stays comfortably at my side, I really think I prefer to be in the zoo without people looking at me, or making small-talk or asking me how I am. I am not well, but it doesn’t mean I want people to come over and wave excitedly like they do to the seals, I am not asking people to throw crackers at me. Basically, if I had a choice, I would burrow under the covers, accompanied by only the light of day and nothing more.

I would like to wait out whatever illness or bruise or breathing problem I have until it is better and then I will go embrace the public; then I will drive the car and be social and say “hello” pleasantly to people I generally don’t care about; but not now. Now I am raw, raw honey and I want to close my eyes and think of nothing, feel nothing, say nothing. I would like to rejoin reality at my pace, in my time; when that is, is anyone’s guess but it is not now, the time has not arrived yet. I hope to know when it does arrive but maybe I won’t.

I will know when I want to share a skinny vanilla latte with my friend Sarah, I will know when I want to see my sister to share a tuna-salad sandwich at the Thornwood Diner. Now, what I want to do is sleep, and have the time go by so that the day is shorter and that when I try to sleep on my back, with a white rubbery binder around my ribs, that I will sleep through to the morning. Then, again, I will try to get out of my shell and start the day the same way until the days get better, feel better and not a second before.