Joan's Blog

"Watch Me Pull A Rabbit Out Of My Hat"
JANUARY 18, 2012 9:15AM


Rate: 62 Flag

After the child left, there was quiet. Unnatural but not yet uncomfortable. It had always been lively before, one child filling up all the empty cracks and crevices like glue. 

Each day, he walks in from work, shouts a hello, opens the refrigerator. She is there, buttoning her heavy coat. I won't be long, she tells him. She imagines replacing the old wooden door with a revolving one. The old door still has remnants of the glue that held them close. The pencil marks measure the child's growth. The first mark shows the tiny toddler, standing before her first birthday. Hold still, honey, she says, as she feels her soft bird hair underneath the pencil.  The last mark, made sometime in her teens, a quick line slightly crooked. She had to stand on tiptoe to draw it. 

The house is quiet except for the TV. The dishwasher hums after a quiet dinner. He tells her it's good. She scrapes hers down the garbage disposal.  It's cold and dark at seven o'clock.  The branches of the giant tree outside the kitchen window scratch against the glass. She hears him calling out the answers to the Jeopardy contestants.  He repeats the answers twice. The second time louder than the first. Who is Augustus Caesar? Who is Augustus Caesar?

 They can't hear you! she used to tell him. It was a joke between them. Now she closes the door to the den and tries to lose herself in her work. She is writing another chapter. She knows where she is taking her characters, but she worries if she is taking them in the right direction.

In the morning, he is  gone by the time she makes coffee. He has left her favorite donut on the counter next to the coffee pot. He has taken last night's garbage out. Silent acts of love. Silent acts of habit. Some of both, she thinks. This evening, he will walk in, they will greet each other and she will walk out. It's the dance they do now that there is no glue. 



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this is rivetting, joan r.
What an incredibly poignant piece. Beautifully written.
I love this one, Joan!
The donut left especially by the coffee maker touched my heart. The taking care of the small things is priceless.
Beautiful and sad, Joanie.
I felt all of this Joan as I have lived it.
I'm looking for a word for this though I don't know how to do it justice. There's just enough between the cracks here. Although loss is sensed here, there is hope; hope because I hear you speaking of chapters. Joanie, I **hope** this means you are writing a book.
I feel like crying.

It is natural that the glue should become less sticky over time, and then to disappear altogether, I think. Though replaced with something else, something new, possibly even more strong.
Questions to the eternal answers only appear to be wise.

Time does that.
What is "How did it all slip away?"
I can feel the void and hear the silence after reading this, but I also sense the love. There's still glue around that old door. Is it too late to create new habits? Watch Jeopardy with him once in a while. Tell him about your writing. Dance with each other.
Haunting, fully engaging, as poetry sometimes does. This is a another jewel, Joan (unintentional alliteration, but so nice). Another chapter?
Uh Oh...I lost the glue and it felt just like that! Until it fell apart all together. Yikes.
So much emotional content into this short piece. I am sure it resonates with many, containing such universal truths of a marriage. I like the inadvertent rhyme at the end. Perfect.
I hope they each find comfort in the next chapters, together and separately.
Beautiful in its simplicity. I feel the gentle ungluing. R.
"The house is quiet except for the TV. The dishwasher hums after a quiet dinner. He tells her it's good. ..

i love these small moments that paint big pictures. to me, thats just good writing.
Related to and enjoyed. Silent acts are glue sometimes, till something else arrives.
This is so subtle in the way it draws one in. Really good writing, Joan.
As they say, your words put me there with you in the room and in the feeling.
Potent. Ah! Thanks Joan H. All families, lovers, bloggers, and good commonsense people `share ` Private jokes - It's those wonderful (sad/private)
Honest personal stories.
Mennons sell deodorant.
Mennonites never use it.
It is called `Speed Stick.
Mannequins no use it.
Kerry should try some.
No ponder 'irked mood.
Take a quiet walk. Solace.
Cultivate calm moments.
See beauty all around us.
Yes cancan and skip too.
Have a chipper heart too.
A merry heart is medicine.
People can fools or spoof,
and read old wise`proverbs.
I still remember you in DC.
You kiss on face so softly.
I wish you tasted soup.
I make bean and garlic.
You no eat with saw.
Kerry? Hacksaw, ay.
He need a warm cell.
Buy him a city grate.
He's a inky old boy.
He chatters teeth.
Read and appreciated.
you make it all so palpable - R
I was here, feeling. Contemplating the chasm.
Oh, Joan. Such a lovely Mom you are.
You give words to my dread.
Reinvention, when one wants it the least.
(I loved the bird hair...used to feel pale blonde ones.)

You succeeded in transporting us into the quiet amid the lone figures partially lit by the flickering tv, anesthetized by muted muffled infrequent sounds and the space reverberating with the remembered energies of the child. This is such a brief piece but still such a powerful "rendering." You've done so much here with so little: handing us the ineffable emptiness of January...the dead of winter inside and outside of this woman's heart. So much unsaid yet deeply all hangs in the frozen air. This is beautiful, sad, unforgettable. Within this airless space, you still managed to take our breath away. Rated and felt.
Beautiful-almost like prose much like my life now that my kids are gone. We do go on dates now which is fun!
I walk silently
seeing wisps of her
here and there
the remainder
in my heart
Oh Joan, this breaks my heart, even though I know it's not really sad - it's just life. In a 3 person family, that child really IS the glue - I can't think of a better way to put it.
This was well done. It is a story that I think some people actually do experience, when the children are gone, they have to re-group and re-learn how to be a couple again. Great to explore this.
Not a word wasted, beautiful and straight to the heart.
seeing this experience through your eyes makes me wonder if this is how my parents felt when i finally flew the coop.

beautiful work
It sounds lonely. I read it and think, he didn't have to leave the doughnut. Hope the next chapter is good.
You write in prose, but you are a poet.
Lovely writing. I hope it's not true. Or just temporary. And that you find the way back, because it looks like something worth saving
Oh you made me cry. Right this minute, reading the last words, tears just started. I wrote of this my way... yours is so much better. Wish I could hug you.
Thank you everyone for reading and commenting. I always appreciate it.
@Art, you know you're not supposed to kiss and tell!
Joan H. I thought You knew.
The next time we bang drum.
Inever received so soft a kiss.
Ay, Ya almost kissed silently.
I never tell your family tho.

You kiss so softly. You forget?
I no tell Ya else we did not do.
Ya need a butter memory too.
@Art~ I am blushing. xo
A "butter" memory?
this was a very nicely done, rather unsettling piece...
You've given me a new favorite piece of your writing, Joan....and a new fissure in my soul.....more bitter than sweet and so palpable because of your skill. xoxo
heartwrenching, and beautiful...
Empty nest, both subtle and overt. Beautiful piece.
That donut seems sticky enough for a little glue. This was so sweet and a little sad.
All too familiar, but companionable, if that's not too high a price, for peace. Lovely, Joan.
This is a very sad and realistic piece. The man and the woman peobably don't know how to face each other now that the only glue they kept them together is ready for her own life. Your writing brings out a truth many couples face and fill their loneliness by avoiding each other through revolving doors looking for other interests. Yup. Very dark and perceptive.
Ha! Forgot to ask why when one comes in the door, the other leaves. Where does she go to escape for a little while ? Is your character depressed.
I hate to say "wow" because "wow" is so lame, but "Wow!" In five paragraphs you make us care about these people, & understand, & ache for them.
This was a subtle piece, almost light in its nature but the subtle nature of resignation was pronounced by the end of the quiet and lonely piece. Joan, you know how to write! The routines, the patterns, the unsaid, the unacknowledged. The distractions. Excellent.
♥╚═══╝╚╝╚╝╚═══╩═══╝─╚╝ Unglued rules and so do you...
Beautiful.....breathtaking, that last paragraph...
I read this other day and it has not left me.
There is something very profound here.
You are such an amazing woman, writer and human Joan.
Thank you for sharing this insight.
So beautiful and so sad. There is truth here and understanding, but I hope that mostly it's what your characters feel, not you.
I can definitely relate to this!
I like very much what Margaret Feike said, and I agree with her. If these small gestures mean this much to you, say. Touch. Thank. If not, it will become the hollow sound of footfalls, that seem impending in this piece. It is up to you which way the door moves - open. Or closed. Rated, with love.
Thanks for reading and commenting, everyone.
@Persistent Muse, your comment is a million times more poignant and beautiful than this entire piece!
Wow. Persistent's comment is quite amazing, isn't it?
Are you peeking in Joan's window??