Tonight, Driving Back to San Francisco
Six boxes. Full of my grandmother's china. Earlier today I drove back to my house and packed up my dishes.
Six boxes of teacups, plates and saucers of innumerable sizes, tureens, bowls, wierd pieces with pedastals. A dish for pickles, a dish for olives, a fish platter and a platter for roast. Enough to host a five-course dinner for twenty-odd people. I saved packing up the china for last. There was something about it I couldn't face. And now I wonder why I haul these old dishes around? Why, when they're just going to sit in my roommate's garage? My mother loves this shit -- now that it's hit her that she doesn't own it, my mother covets this china; why don't I send it all to her?
My grandmother was not her china. Her name was Joy.
My grandmother was a scarf in the wind, a red camaro. She was champagne for breakfast and roses and sapphire. She was the beach, whether it was sunny or cold. A skipper of stones, a collector of beach glass, extravagant, forgetful, incapable of carrying a tune, my grandmother had tons of plates because she threw tons of parties. She was not her dishes.
Near the end of her life my grandmother contracted Alzheimer's, and the burden of her dishes fell to me because my mother wanted none of it, none of it, none of it.Tonight, driving back to San Francisco, I passed an extraordinary number of ambulances. I wondered if the darkness was thicker than usual, because my headlights seemed to just barely pierce it.
Tonight, I'm lonelier than ever. Tonight, I am a teacup.