The Tale of Us Against the Monster: An Ordinary, Wonderful Day
Today was a good day. After my husband’s second cycle of his drug therapy, the oncologist came back to us with pleasing news. For once, we were glad to be at the doctor’s office. Seems as though the drug therapy has had a positive effect on the tumors on his ribs. And while the ones on his spine get bigger day by day, just knowing that something, anything, is working in his favor is simply, well, elating. Not that he is going to be turning somersaults any time soon, but it’s a relief and for this, we are grateful.
So, when we have good days, they are splendid. Not that we did a whole lot. My husband puttered about in the yard…like he used to. We worked together on a couple of ongoing projects. We drank coffee in the morning, took an afternoon break in the sun with bottles of ice cold water, rummaged through the fridge for some lunch, and ordered out for supper. We didn’t go anywhere. We had no profound conversation. Sometimes he was at one end of our property and I was at the other end. But we were together. And life was very…normal. We don’t want excitement or days filled with a dizzying amount of adventures. What we truly crave now are the nondescript days where nothing very important happens other than a complete fullness of ordinary. A day without the type of extraordinary we have experienced lately—extraordinary pain, extraordinary sadness, and extraordinary anger—is a day we happily meet. Quiet co-existence within a well-learned, comfortable routine is such a blessing.
In our marriage, my husband and I have had excitement: we’ve traveled, seen sights, been to events, shared memorable occasions. We’ve laughed together, and cried too. But mostly, we’ve led a quiet life. We’ve loved our home, our garden, our little dog, and our families and friends. Our evenings usually consist of quiet activities, a walk with the dog, and an early bedtime. Actually, we’re kinda boring, I think. But we like it that way, and we love the comfort and peace we have always found in each other. The Monster has stolen the wonderful mundane from us. But not today. Today we are celebrating our little island of typical on a roaring ocean of turbulence.
Right now, my husband is in the living room dozing on the couch with his remote control in hand. I think he started watching a movie on Netflix. Ming Li is sleeping on the rug, on her back, with her paws in the air. She’s snoring. They’re both snoring. I’m just finishing up here. The dishes are done and the kitchen is dark except for the dim light above the stove. The window is open, and when there’s a breeze, the vase of cut roses from our rose garden fills the air with perfume. The laundry is all folded and put away, but I can still smell the fabric softener. I’ve put out fresh towels and turned down the bed. The garbage is on the curb with the recycling because it’s garbage day tomorrow. I took a small roast beef out of the freezer, and it’s thawing overnight in the sink. I’ll make a slow cooker pot roast tomorrow with baby potatoes and carrots. I’ll probably make gravy and a small lettuce salad with Ranch Dressing. Red Jello for after—it’s my husband’s favorite. Red Jello and Dream Whip.
I’m sitting in my pajamas at my computer for a few minutes more. I’ll post this, and then I’ll go wake my husband and put him to bed. I’ll turn off the television, and lock up. Then I’ll read in bed beside him. I won’t notice his snoring. I’m so used to it now. Ming Li will join us, and splay on her back across the bed. She’ll snore too. I know I will fall asleep with my glasses on my nose and my book on my chest, but in the morning, my book will be laying on my bedside table with my glasses folded on top of it. The lamp will be turned off. I will have a foggy memory of my husband making me scootch down in the bed, and planting a good night kiss on me. May God grant us another unremarkable day tomorrow.
“The year’s at the spring
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hillside’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn:
God’s in His heaven—
All’s right with the world!”
Robert Browning, excerpt from Pippa Passes