Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Moment in Time

This is not my breakfast table, but when I saw this picture, I remembered a morning seven years ago...or ten years ago. It doesn't matter how many years; what matters is that it's a snapshot of an ordinary day, so ordinary I can't even pinpoint it. The main thing I know is that it happened before...before my husband became ill and such days were over.

It's a weekday morning. We're seated at the breakfast table. Ralph is eating a bagel. Cinnammon raisin. He buys eiight dozen bagels at a time in assorted flavors and freezes them. He finishes his grapefruit juice and sips from a large plastic mug of tea--no sugar, no lemon--which he will refill and take with him when he leaves to visit the clients of his computer consulting company. His breakfast never varies except for the flavor of the bagel.

I am in a cereal phase and I'm having Special K with fresh blueberries along with my tea--small cup, one sugar, a teaspoon of lemon juice.

Ralph is engrossed in the front page of the Houston Chronicle. He is the master of the newspaper. Every morning he retrieves it from the driveway, and this gives him dibs on his favorite section. I read the spots page. My secret: I love the sports section, prefer to read it first. I check the tennis news. Although I've watched the previous day's match on TV, I enjoy reprising it.

"Listen to this," Ralph says and reads a column aloud. "...a respected politician..." He pauses and we grin at each other. "There's an oxymoron," he says.

"Add it to the list." We collect oxymorons and have pages of them in a file.

He continues the article and we discuss it briefly. We're on opposite sides politically, but we have a tacit understanding: He tells me how to vote; I don't listen. When our views diverge too much, we stop talking.

"I have to go," I say, glancing at my watch. I put my bowl in the dishwasher, give Ralph an absentminded peck on the cheek, grab my keys and head out to my car.

An ordinary morning, an average day for two people heading into their golden years. A quiet, uneventful life. Soon that will change.


Louise Gallagher said... [Reply to comment]

Thelma, this is a poignant snapshot of what changed. thank you for this reminder to cherish those everyday moments.


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