Permission Granted

This is a Wild Writing piece inspired by the poem, Permission Granted, by David Allen Sullivan.           Yes, you have permission to refuse the rest of the red velvet cake your Mother wants you to pack up and take with you on your 300-mile drive back home. Yes, you can also refuse to take the brownies that she’s made, even though she tells you with some urgency that you’ll get Alzheimers if you don’t eat sugar. No, she’s not really worried that you’ll get Alzheimers, but yes, she’s super bummed that you’re sticking her with the cake.   It’s 6:30 in the morning and you’re standing in her kitchen in Los Angeles  – the same kitchen you had your whole childhood – the one with the black and yellow tile that sits below a shady grove of eucalyptus trees. This morning she’s wearing the short, black and white polka dotted nightie that you bought her for Christmas. “Sexy,” she’d said, turning toward her 82-year-old boyfriend Ralph when she unwrapped it a few days ago.   When you drive away from her house 30 minutes later, your blond teenage daughters are like sleepy puppies on pillows in the back seat. Mom will be standing at the front door in her short, polka dotted nightie, Ralph towering over her wearing your Dad’s pajamas, both of them waving your car goodbye.   No, you did not take the cake. No, you did not take the brownies. Yes, you got over the fact that your Mother’s boyfriend wears your Father’s pajamas. Yes, they were practically new when your Father...

Catching a Little Wind

Just when I was thinking of finally biting the bullet and asking my doc for a prescription for something that might give me a little more zing, add a little skip, put a smile on my face – good god – anything to give me a tiny, loving shove into the new year, I get an email from an angel named Helene – an attorney who had done some work on my divorce six months ago, but who I hadn’t spoken to since because I was supposed to get back to her with some completed paperwork.   The thing is, I’d dropped the ball because divorce plants you face first into a pile of details that you’d rather not look at  – like your finances and how much you made last year, and what you grossed, and figuring out how much those kids cost, and hey, what is the value of everything in your house?  Not to mention how you begin to untangle 26 years of a life with someone. Honestly, it was too much.   So I put it off, and he put it off, not because we questioned the divorce, but because we couldn’t deal, and so those legal papers grew legs and became like a puppy that followed me from room to room – a little pile that rotated from my desk, to the kitchen table, to the floor by my bed. I even took the pile on vacations with me, telling myself that I’d work on the numbers by the pool, as I climbed the mountain, at the airport, on the plane. But I never...