Thursday, January 5, 2017

Our Spinning Universe

We've got eggs.

We just got back from applying for new passports for our daughters so they can travel to parts unknown this summer. I learned that my wife has been lying on these documents, claiming a Bronx birth when her certificate clearly states she’s from Queens. I still encourage her travel, but no longer expect she will be allowed back in the country. I’ll visit whatever airport holding cell she ends up locked in. Our love will endure. Stay tuned for updates.
We went from post office to Wegmans with my youngest complaining about the coat I had made her wear. It’s warm enough, she said, seeing how I’m wearing fuzzy pants. It’s like wearing a blanket or a bunch of kittens. That is warm. Meanwhile snow drifted on a strong wind. Our older daughter looked up the temperature: 26 but feels like 13. I sang “We’re having a heat wave.” My youngest, already warm, steamed and punched the back of my chair.
We traveled to Wegmans thinking about weather inside and out. We needed a few things for dinner and the week: milk, bagels, a tomato. My wife asked, do we have enough eggs? I teleported home, opened the fridge, and checked. Okay, no. I said, let’s get some. But we might have enough, she said. They won’t go bad, I said. We may have gone round the issue a few more times. It’s all a blur.  
At Wegmans my youngest tried to act warm as the wind pelted us with hard snow. She and her jacket remained steadfastly unbuttoned. Inside we were waylaid by a woman who pulled a shopping cart backward, U-turned, then stood in our way. Hello, she muttered. Already confused and still wondering about eggs, I enthusiastically said, “Hi!” thinking that we must know her. Not so much. She moved the cart side to side blocking our every move and trying to get draw the attention of her elderly husband who was stuck behind us and may have been contemplating eggs or the temperature. He was a tough read. The whole thing went on for hours.
At the bakery, I chose an onion bagel and dropped it into a bag by itself. I’m not allowed to contaminate the bagels my wife and daughters choose with the stinky one I insist on. I stepped back and waited while they debated their choices. Time slowed, then stopped. I contemplated the good times when we were trapped in the store’s entrance by an old woman and her cart. I wondered if it was warm or cold outside. Did we need eggs? I thought of my wife’s holding cell in some New York airport.  My wife asked, do you want to get a tomato? Do I ever!
I went to produce, picked a tomatoand wondered how one tomato can possibly cost $1.20. I started to mutter about the price of tomatoes in my day, then realized I was talking to cherry tomatoes which understand even less than do the tomatoes on the vine. I walked on and bumped into a woman whose daughter I used to coach. She didn’t mention the warm temperatures or ask about eggs, so I was knocked off balance for a few moments. She even kept her cart still and I always had a clear line of escape.
We bought the eggs.
At home, unpacking groceries, I wondered what to write today. I’d written this morning about how things should last. I had considered writing about trying to cut down on sugar in my diet. Neither seemed interesting and my mind was still reeling from our trip and the lies on our passports. Like Stephen Dobyns in How To Like It I stared “into the refrigerator as if into the place where the answers are kept.”

On the second shelf were twenty one eggs. I pushed in a dozen more and closed the fridge accepting every way in which my universe turns.