Monday, April 7, 2014

"It's Been Two Years" - Part Two - "The Temperature of Hot Blood"

"It's Been Two Years"

Part Two

"The Temperature of Hot Blood"

            “Is... today a good (Maine March) day?
            Or was... YESTERDAY... the good (Maine March) day?”
            I said to myself... out loud inside my truck cab as I
            Parked the truck ‘well in’ Cadence Snow’s driveway... of her
            Greater-greatest-great grandfather’s ‘old sea captain’s mansion;
            That is the name of the mansion.
            I parked ‘towards’ the closed barn doors behind which HER car was parked... I assumed... and ‘beside’ the ‘door to the kitchen’.  In other months... I would have... “the front door” but during... Maine March... front doors ‘are out’.  The front door WAS ‘dug out’ but ‘obviously NOT being used’.  The kitchen door (‘side door’) was dug out and... ‘obviously being used’.  This (Maine March)... is not a ‘messing around with’ time of year for... doorways.
            YESTERDAY... the ‘day before’... was a ‘nice day’?  TODAY was going to ‘TURN’ to a RETURN of the constant... March ...snow day.  “MAYBE IT SHOULD BE Constant Snow... instead of a
            I continued
            To myself
            As I stepped out of truck and up to ...the kitchen door and
            The door
            I am stepping inside the kitchen
            With familiar greeting.
            The Kitchen is... an extreme of foul thick air that is also
            The temperature of hot blood (99 degrees).
            Cats move
            I see
            Through the haze.
            There IS a kitchen... with a sink... with the water ‘just running slightly’ from the hot water tap above the sink.  (The reason the water is ‘left on’ is to ‘prevent the pipes from freezing’.  I know this).  This ‘left on’ running water makes a rattling noise
            In the sink.
            The heat haze ...with bombastic foul... IS THAT ODOR?  The kitchen table holds

            A three piece dark blue English Staffordshire transferware tea set... sitting table
            Kitchen crazy
            Old woman
            With her cats?
            But I don’t because
            I’ve done this before
            And it is SOOOOOOO nasty because
            “EVERYONE’S LIFE” depends on
            “Not fainting”.
            This is a Wasp tradition
            In old New England homes
            In March
            In Maine:
            “Not fainting.”
            I hear myself saying to myself as Cadence’s eye flash across my face.
            She’s looking upward toward my face anxious.
            “Cadence” I’m saying toward the tea set.  Then above it looking down.
            “It’s the temperature of hot blood in here.”
            Some more cats move
            At the sound of a male voice.
            Her bedroom’s GOT to be directly above where I stand.  In the ell.  To catch the heat from the kitchen.  Probably her bedroom.  Since her
            “HOLY GOD” through the thick air I
            GATHER MYSELF.
            “I...” she is saying to me about yesterday seeing me at the town office when I was registering my car that was overdue because it was suppose to be re-registered in February but “WHO CARES” Maine Man THAT but “NOW MARCH” so I was ‘pony up’ and I
            See Cadence ...seeing me... ‘across the (town office’s parking) lot’ but KNEW the difference of THAT LOOK ‘seeing me’ so... I was NOT surprised to ‘when I came out’ and
            THEN SHE SAID so I SAID “Tomorrow MORNING AT EIGHT” because I knew I could that early because I knew it was
            That bad.

            (Ok with you so far?  Because if you’ve never ‘done this....;  So it’s hard for me to tell how your holding up.)

            Outside the town office Cadence ‘stood ground’
            At the temperature of her hot blood
            Reaching every part of her
            Grasp on me.
            She told me about the tea set right then.
            And I knew right then ‘that wasn’t gonna do it’.
            “Nothing WRONG with THAT SET, Cadence. but LET’S TRY to do it
            SOME OTHER WAY this morning and
            SAVE THIS for a BETTER TIME.”
            I can feel her looking at my back and
            “THAT’S A LOT OF MONEY YOU NEED right now
            But let’s not go CHOPPING THE CHERRY TREE DOWN first thing.”
            She’s silent.
            Behind me.
            “LET ME go out into the BARN back there and see what I can PULL TOGETHER FIRST.  THEN we can say what we NEED to DO BETTER.”
            “There’s only the OLD CAR out there.”
            “There’s MORE and I’LL FIND what I can FIRST.  Then we’ll TALK IT OVER.
            She’s silent.
            I turn and look over her toward the ...door to the shed... that connects to the barn... with that door being over in the corner between the stove and the sink... with a hanging hook row of Cadence’s jackets along the wall by the window.  “I’ll be right back” I say.
            Opening and then closing the ‘to the shed’ door I am delivered into COLD and DARK and
            May breath again and
            THERE IS NO TIME TO RELISH my deliverance for I
            MUST FIND
            Seven hundred and fifty dollars of ‘fill her oil tank’ money NOW... in the barn darkness:  “There’s THREE FLOORS”.
            I don’t even TRY to fumble around.  I’ve been doing this for DECADES.  “YEAH JUST” and I
            Can figure it out later as long at there
            “IS STUFF”.
            There is stuff.  EVERYWHERE.
            “No one’s been in here”
            “Except for Cadence.”
            And she ain’t ‘been in here’ (rummaged around in her own barn)
            AT ALL
            “dub-by-tee, dub-by-tee” go my feet on the barn stairs in the dark.  “Enough in the back (of the first floor) .  Get it all there”.  I ‘m going back through the shed to the kitchen.
            It’s the temperature of hot blood
            In the kitchen
            When I come in to see Cadence by the tea set on the table.  She is looking at me.
            While holding a cat
            While another cat is
            At her feet
            Looking at me
            “GOD AWFUL”
            “Cadence I see
            “Seven hundred and sixty for THREE truck loads out there so I’ll
            “Let’s say EIGHT HUNDRED
            FOR the three truck loads that ought to do it
            For now”.
            I say to her
            That turns away toward the kitchen table and looks down at the tea set
            Still holding the cat
            Then says “You are SURE of that.”
            And that is NOT a question
            She is asking
            For she turns back dropping the cat off and looks hard up at my face so I know I
            Just saved a universe
            Where old spinster cat crazy sea captain’s greater-greatest-great granddaughters live in the kitchen of their mansion called Defiance closed up all winter with no money at all and the heat in that kitchen
            The temperature of hot blood.

1 comment:

  1. I’ve been there, other such kitchens, the same… acrid odor, some cat pee, some cat shit, some acrid human perspiration accumulated body odor, mildewed rags, old moist cat food and puke now dried onto the floor, fry pan cooking smell, grease on the wood work with dust sticking to it, end heater on the stove bringing the temperature way above normal tolerance level… now breathe shallowly, through your nose as much as you can, do nothing to raise dust because the cat dander will get in your eyes and then they’ll itch and redden… avoid touching things with your hands, and with your clothing as you wisp by an object… remember that decontamination will be necessary immediately after you leave, and it’s a bitch… NEVERTHELESS IT IS THE WORK PLACE AND THE WORK HAS TO BE DONE.