When I sleep alone, (which is usually), personal preference controls. Lights stay bright, “The Boys” have the floor, and—without fail— the TV’s on. So little, yet so much.

When I rise alone it’s much the same. Peaceful, predictable…the same. Except for weekends.

I waken weekends, not to pictures but to sound. Saturdays, Sundays, I roll from the bed, ears swelling with Muppets or Yabba Yabba…or is it Gabba Gabba? (This morning, for example, there was a big, white smiley face in the sky singing down on puppets, assuring each they’d been safe all night. I think it was NBC).

Eyes open weekends to nursery rhymes and cartoons….and

Sitting in Cleveland, looking east I see Max. On the floor, Indian style, his eyes fixed ahead. (Are we still allowed to call it “Indian style”?) Three feet from the tube, he stares, mesmerized by the pageantry at a distance our parents would have said was too close to sit. It’s idyllic.

To the west I see Lucy. One hour off, she’s not quite awake. Facebook pictures, though, don’t lie. She’s soon to join Max on the floor. Distance may separate them, but not heart. Cousins are cousins.

My eyes open wider on weekends. Much wider. On Saturdays—even Sundays– I’ll see those that I don’t and hug jewels I can ‘t hold. On weekends, you see, midst the backdrop of cartoons and Wiggles, I see Hailey and Matthew.

He turned one this week. Is she driving yet? (Is her TV on too?)

On weekends I anger. And I resent. Like yesterday.

We’ve got tools in recovery: devices for coping, for facing the unfaceable.

When resentments hit, we ask God to remove them. If we’re on our games, we share feelings with friends, make amends when we can and, when all else fails, we go out and help another. We “get out of ourselves”.

I did that yesterday. On a day when the angst wouldn’t yield, I did it right.

“Aunt Helen,” I said, “Do you want to get out of the house?”
Like Kramer on Seinfeld, she didn’t ask where. “Of course,” she exclaimed.

(My aunt, by her own choice, has no air-conditioning. God knows why—it’s not about the money. Still, she opts to sweat. Indeed, in a world of simple pleasures, she lives with out sex AND air-conditioning. Go figure).

“We’ll go to the library. I can work there”
“Giddyap!” (she all but shouted).

It was 2:30 when we finally got going. Truth be known, I was already better. It mattered not. As the mercury hit mid-90’s, 260 years of Bogart found, at the corner of Richmond and Shaker, not only air-conditioning, but respite.

For two hours, even more, she sat at the table. Tenaciously, with a magnifying glass as her ally, this frail, smiling fossil studied the Jewish News. Aside her, on computer sat I: working and playing, at peace with the world.

We hit Jack’s later as she wanted cole slaw. And Walgreen’s too, where she bought some briefs. Then home we went, our time well-spent.

Hal called today.

“You got a compliment, “he noted, “…From a woman.”
“Was it someone I went out with?”
“Well,” he rejoined, “You’ve seen her topless.”

I groaned a bit, as my brother laughed.
“Oh,” (I now knew), “So you talked to Aunt Helen.”
“You made her happy.”
“It was good for both of us,” I said. “Even painless.”

We lead such disparate lives, my aunt and I. She chooses solitude and a bordered realm of lights and TV off—no sound to wake up to. I’m the lucky one. My world fills with light day or night; my TV still plays day and night. I rise to a world full of sound with no fury.

Still, on a day she didn’t NEED to shop, and a day I didn’t HAVE to work, our needs intersected. Aunt Helen, brittle…worn, got out of her house. Me? Smiling once more, I left Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.


  1. ABL says:

    Your a good boy Bruce B !!

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