The blaring, archaic ringing of the house phone jolted me awake. It was three in the afternoon. I had fallen asleep while reading in bed–in my bathrobe, no less. Why was I wearing a bathrobe? Oh, that's right–I originally planned on taking a shower but decided to put on a cleansing hair masque first. It was supposed to be left on for twenty minutes before rinsing which is where the reading came in. I've always found waking up from naps disorienting, especially when it's unexpected.
"Hi, it's me, Andrew."
Andrew is a neighbor of ours with a ranch a few miles down the road. He shares the property with his brother. They both live in L.A. but come up on the weekends as a retreat from city life. They're also the only people we're acquainted with in the town of Three Rivers who are under the age of 70.
"Oh, hi!" I said, trying to sound as awake and alert as possible, sitting up in bed.
"Are you O.K.?" he asked, "You sound... A little off."
"Oh, you know... I'm fine. I was just reading a book.... Wait, are you up here?"
I didn't have the nerve to tell him that I was napping.
"Well, I was," he replied. "I tried calling you guys before I left. Tonny said to give a call once I got back–hence this call, though, I must say I'm pleasantly surprised to hear your voice."
"I'm sorry we missed you while you were here," I said, sincerely.
"What's new with you?"
Ah, the dreaded question. I felt compelled to say: "Nothing and everything." The "nothing" is in regards to having nothing new to report other than I'm still trying to figure out my life; the "everything" is that, in doing the figuring out part, there are about a million feelings, thoughts, and emotions roiling around inside of me all at once–not to mention a collection of short-lived gigs.
My life is sorta like a consommé that's in the works. It's a bunch of coarse ingredients simmering away in a pot, with the hopes of–at some point–becoming a refined, harmonious, clarified liquid. Right now, the broth is cloudy and doesn't quite taste like anything yet. It needs more time.
The book I was reading, by the way, was a memoir called Mistakes Were Made (Some In French) by Fiona Lewis. To sum up the book jacket, it's a story about a woman who moves at her own pace through life and who, in her fifties, battles with her fears of not being a success, not having children, and aging. (No surprise here why this resonates with me.) After spending a year in the French countryside, restoring a crumbling chatêau and reflecting upon her life, she begins to accept her "self". She'd finally lay claim to something of her own. No grand achievements or treacherous adventures to be told, yet inspiring all the same.
It's inspiring me to look for my own version of her French chatêau. (Because Lord knows I'm not going to actually buy and restore a French chatêau on my own.)
"I just got back from L.A. and enjoying the ranch." I answered, breezily, looking out at the green hills and gray skies. "It's been chilly here."
"Our goats gave birth," he said, lighting up, "I swear to you, their babies are the cutest things you've ever seen. You should drive down there and play with them–and bring back as many eggs as you want from the chicken coop."
"I should," I said. "Thank you. I should do that."
I really should.