Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Colorless

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Colorless

It seems like every day’s the same
and I’m left to discover on my own
It seems like everything is gray
and there’s no color to behold


-- "Fine Again" (Seether)

I dropped Erik off at school today after having weeks off due to the holidays and the weather. I absolutely dreaded doing it, knowing the break would set us back eons in terms of his coping skills. Thankfully, I arrived 15 minutes early, beating the chaos of the school buses and most of the other families, and we were able to loiter a bit on the way into the building. I allowed Erik to stall for time and provided my usual zippy commentary on the things we saw. He admired the leftover snow and puddles that had transformed into patches of icy-black glaze overnight. I finally convinced him to enter the building, and we were greeted by a few members of the staff. After I unzipped his jacket, he took it off without any help whatsoever. I helped him hang it up, kissed him on the cheek, and made my way out of the classroom. The women who had greeted us led him off, talking in soothing tones and apparently giggling in response to his charming banter.

That was easy. Now what?

The world outside my car and my home is so gritty and filthy now. I have always loved winter, but the clean, white snow that sparkled like iridescent sequins in the sunshine years ago seems to be a distant memory now. There are only rounded scabs of aging, dirty ice, and piles of leftover cinder rock used to sand the roads turn everything the color of dried blood.

Depressing.

Instead of home, my Jeep took me to the parking lot of a local department store. They had remodeled the building, and everything was new and bright as I walked in the door. Paperback novels were on sale, and I chose three of them, something I usually never let myself do unless I'm trapped in an airport somewhere. I wheeled my cart through the pink and red Valentine's Day displays and inhaled the sweet but cloying scent of cheap, waxy chocolate. As I passed the footwear section, I spotted the shoes I wanted to buy Erik, which were almost half off, perched on a top shelf as if they were waiting for me to find them. Score! I bought two pairs in different styles and a couple new sweatshirts for him to wear to school and day care. Next, I crouched down in the makeup aisle and located the undereye concealers. Apparently, the one I chose before is specifically formulated for slightly stressed-out grade school girls, because it doesn't begin make a dent in my dark circles. Instead, I end up looking a bit like a figure in Madame Tussaud's wax museum. Perhaps that's why Madeleine Albright comes to mind when I look in the mirror these days.

I eventually made it over to the grocery section and found a package of bean sprouts, rice stick noodles, and bottled fish sauce to put into the shrimp Pad Thai I am creating for dinner this evening. Another wonderful distraction from my problems I have rediscovered is cooking. Since I adjusted my diet and began to lose weight, I have only enjoyed cooking that much more. Last night I baked a bulging Mexican-style pizza piled high with black beans, peppers, jalapenos, spinach leaves, onions, and low-fat cheese. Brian gave it a thumbs up.

After the checker very patiently bagged my things in the fabric bags I brought, I drove home through the grit and realized how much I want spring to arrive. I want Easter baskets, the Kentucky Derby, cherry blossoms, and the birds to begin migrating back home. I want...

I want the world to just be clean again.

I twisted the stereo volume knob and felt the first song on my iPod begin pulsing from the speakers around me. I made my way through the morning traffic, hiding behind my dark glasses and feeling my stomach growl, reminding me I was still alive and quite well.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Tara said...

I hope Erik does okay at school today. It's so hard getting them back in the routine (and I'm sure you're afraid he's going to have to 'try' and adjust to the noise all over again). My husband and I were just talking the other day about how we were ready for spring again...ready to be outside and get fresh air.

By the way - I think I would've enjoyed that pizza you made!!

1:08 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

I'm glad Erik went so well into school...and getting the shoes, score. :) I have found the most amazing under eye makeup, so natural even I forget I've got dark circles.

7:27 PM  
Anonymous DEE-TA said...

WOO-HOO! I AM SO HAPPY TO HEAR THAT ERIK HAS GONE BACK TO SCHOOL AND EVEN AFTER A LOOOOONG BREAK HE WAS ABLE TO ADJUST AND DO SO VERY WELL! HOORAY ERIK!!!!

AND YOU... THANKS FOR TAKING ME TO THE STORE WITH YOU! I SO COULD IMAGINE SHOPPING WITH YOU! JUST WISHED I LIVED A BIT CLOSER SO I COULD ACTUALLY GO WITH YOU!

I AM ABOUT READY FOR SPRING TOO! THIS MORNING WHEN I WOKE-UP IT WAS 13 DEGREES!!! BURRRRRRR!

5:32 AM  
Blogger TrappedInColorado said...

Nice post. Good style.

I know all about the dirty snow and dirty grit of winter. Hang in there. The days are getting longer, the average daytime temps are creeping up, and those surprising days of March that hit the 70s are not far off.

BTW - You are on a diet? That pic in the hot tub tells me you are doing a damned fine job!

Peace

7:37 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

I second the motion for spring. I hate January and February. Glad he did well going in to school.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

You would make a wonderful personal chef, your cooking always sounds great! It is a distraction for me as well, I enjoy it. Even though I often end up eating too much, Avery spits it out and opts for hot dogs, and then I the next night I give in and cook a frozen pizza. I usually have to go to Macy's makeup counter and pick up the expensive concealer for it to make a dent in my dark saggy pouches.
XOXO
Amy

10:35 AM  
Blogger ~Deb said...

That shrimp Pad Thai sounds absolutely delicious. When's dinner???

Sounds like Erik is doing really well. I'm glad that he's surrounded by calm and peaceful people.

And as far as the winter - I spend my life in department stores sometimes, rumaging around items that I really don't have to buy. We have a Target nearby with a Starbuck's in it. Yet, another excuse to go "shopping". Oh it's the only Starbuck's around honey! LOL! Get me???

3 books???????????? God bless you! I may write a helluva' lot, but it takes everything for me to finish a book.

The winter will soon be over, the dirty snow will melt away and we'll have beautiful flowers popping up in no time. Get some vitamin D, or drink a lot of milk and get some sun if you can. It helps with SAD - seasonal affective disorder, which MANY people get - including myself if I don't get enough sun.

I hope you're doing well! (I just had a Starbuck's espresso which explains this longwinded comment.)

Love to you!!!

P.S. Your writing is just amazing by the way. Have you ever thought about writing a book - or better yet - have you? You should really think about it with your excellent writing and life experience.

Seriously.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Rosemarie said...

Winter can be drab and push someone who's on the edge right over.

Can you and Erik pretend to have a day at the beach in the house? Do what works, but just get happy. Please!

How about a long weekend to an island with your hubby?

11:39 PM  

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