While the snow is gently falling outside, I am glad I took the time about ten days ago to create this indoor fairy garden. I was missing the green of nature so much that I just needed to dig my hands in some dirt.
So here it sits in the dining room, while we sit, me and the pupsters, watching the white flakes fall ever so gently.
It does cheer me up a bit with it’s little fairy and turtle and small plates and such.
Tuesday, on my birthday no less, I sat the afternoon in H&R Block doing my taxes. How those folks add up all those confusing numbers and know where to put them in their appropriate little white boxes I do not know.
And it didn’t help a bit that the sweet elderly woman I had to pay $550 to to add those strange figures up kept muttering: “Oh, this isn’t good. This is going to be bad. Bad.” Occasionally in that 90 minutes she would look up at me, and with her yellow marker she would draw a circle. She’d push the marker down on it for emphasis.
“This,” she would announce. “Is the happy face.” She’d shake her head. “And this,” she’d say again. “Is the unhappy face. She drew the faces, and one of course had a smile like sunshine. And the other was upturned in obvious grief. She drew arrows to the figures on her sheet that made up my income for 2012.
I kept asking: “How bad???”
“I don’t know yet. Bad,” she’d say.
Finally I couldn’t take it anymore. Judy was home with strep, poor thing, and thus I was alone. I drove through Wendy’s and ate a burger on the way to do my taxes. No birthday fanfare. Cold gloomy weather.
And I just could not take one more…BAD.
I will admit, though sheepishly, that I sat in the chair across from her in her cubicle (thank goodness at the very back) and I silently began to cry.
I think I was crying about a lot of things. But BAD just brought it all to the surface.
She managed to miraculously come up with all these deductions so that at least I could swallow. And walk out without tears running down my face. How can you make so little and have to pay so much?
I am in a whole new world now. One in which figures in little white boxes bring me to tears in front of a perfect stranger. One in which I have no idea what all I was supposed to keep tabs on and receipts for. Fifty-six years old now, and I’m about to barf up the Wendy’s burger right across the little yellow faces on her pad of paper.
As I drove to the grocery store to pick up a few things before the bad weather swooped into Tulsa, my mind running a mile a minute, I was thinking about such things as: “Will I be able to buy Abi’s Prozac? Hell, will I be able to buy the little pills that help turn my upside down comma into an upturned ray of sun?”
I stood in the coffee aisle and hesitated before I bought my little box of K-cups for my beloved Keurig coffee maker. I’d pick one up. Put it back. Finally I tossed it in the basket.
After all, it was my birthday. And I’ve spent the last year and a half trying to figure out how to turn down-turned commas into sweet little smiles while my world seemed to unravel.
Come hell or high water, by the skin of my teeth, I have somehow managed to make lemonade out of lemons. And I’ll survive this too.
I wonder if I’m the only client who has sat across from her in tears? Perhaps that is why she began, in her 34 years with H&R Block, she’d proudly told me early on, to look down discreetly at a pad of paper and draw faces while the person across from her tries to pull her 56 years of life together.
Then yesterday morning my eldest daughter unexpectedly called me. She’s emailed a couple of times, but I’ve just been, well, too reticent to go there. Anger and pride and hurt mixed up together I suppose.
After my initial surprise at hearing her voice after all these months of silence, something inside of me seemed to let go. Like a tight fist was in my chest all this time, and I was totally unaware of it. And then the fist relaxes and unfolds.
A weight falls off your shoulders you didn’t even know was perched there. There is suddenly a ray of light at the end of the dark tunnel.
And it was at that precise moment that I thought maybe, just maybe, things were going to be all right after all.