Campbell’s Soup and Lindsay Olives
It’s warm. Too warm. It’s what Tony wants. He’s 88. It’s old person earth. Stagnant. Air doesn’t move. Can’t move. Open a window. Open a door. Please.
I sit at a round table in the dining room writing, writing this on the table cloth. Is a combination of orange and red with musicians playing various instruments and dressed in pantaloons cover the top.
I hate it. I hate the heat. That the now feeling of the place is like a museum. A collection. A collection of things. An excess of things that I can easily throw out. Lighten the load. The psychic investment is too much. Tony wants this and doesn’t. I understand and don’t. So I play the role of the his houseman. Keeping the place clean. Making sure he has his tea and coffee in the morning. His dinner before 7:00PM.
I hate the dissonance. The contrast. The necessity of stuff. Yes, I’m resentful. What I have is in storage. Most of it anyway. When you don’t have a lot things have more meaning. Lessened to be protected. I don’t have to vote my property values.
It’s my mom’s voice. She’s looking for me. I sit in the coolness of the tank house. The washing machine, the dryer, the cement sink and floor. Clothes and baskets are scattered everywhere. Chaos everywhere. Like in every other room in the house. I hold a small can of Campbell’s tomato soup in my hand. I am in front of the open shelves of the pantry. Six shelves of scattered canned goods. All of various sizes. I am putting the shelves in order. Stacking cans. Lining them up. Bringing order; large and small. Each shelf. Each can placed where I think it should be. Finding the best fit alone. Alone. Alone. There cans are colorful. Some have a story. Some have sat there for months or years. You know what? I don’t care. I’m in a cool room. Away. Away. Alone. This I can do.
Her voice stretches out my name.
I don’t answer.