They Had Had Too Much

The day the women had had enough will be remembered. 

I believe, after the dust settles and the men get over themselves, we will come to revere the anniversary of the Women’s Rebellion.  For years people have spouted that famous proverb  “When sleeping women wake, mountains move.”

We have awakened.  We are woke.   And we have had quite enough thank you very much.

Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

I was proud to be with the women of my town on what began as a sleepy Saturday, August afternoon.  Congress made their announcement, timed for the weekend so as to escape the news cycle.  During the dog days of summer when they thought we were sleeping.  It was my birthday and I thought,, “How dare they!”  HOW fucking DARE THEY.  And I don’t use that word.  But I used it a lot that Saturday. 

On my birthday.  To make such an announcement.  I was not surprised, but I was outraged.  I hadn’t considered that all of womanhood would be as incensed. 

My ire knew no bounds and my grandmother noted my Irish eyes were flashing.  Hers were as well.  She’d been outraged for a good 80 of her 92 years.  “We are going backwards,” she said.  How dare they.  My heartbeat rocked at a frenetic pace with the flashing of my eyes.  A strobe light of rage.

We felt the need to get out of the house and so we did.   Headed to town in my car, dusty from our dirt road.  I vowed to wash it.  I tend to clean when angered.  Rage cleaning, I called it.

But a funny thing happened on the way to town.  I began noticing cars full of old women and young women and girls.  All headed in the same direction.  Some of them began honking.  Rolling down their windows and waving their fists. 

We formed a line.  One by one, the cars fell into formation.  Horns blaring.  As we passed houses, women saw us, grabbed their keys, and joined us.  Word was spreading fast.  We reached the downtown area. The riverfront park where concerts and festivals were held.  Convenient parking.

Oh yeah, we parked, and then we marched.

I don’t remember who began the chant.

We are women!  We are mad!   We are women!  And won’t be had.

Now one would think that the men would have had the forethought to get out of the way.  But, oh no.  the majority of them lined the streets waving their fists and chanting Back to the Kitchen.  Back to the Bedroom.  Back to  Where You Belong.

Some men joined us.  Precious few.  But they were there.

My husband was not one of them.  He had disappeared.  But I knew.  He was somewhere chanting the loathsome words.

It was the death knell of our marriage.  It was the death knell of society as we knew it.

Gasoline had been poured on smoldering cinders and then the men had foolishly tossed in fresh wood.

Yes, we will revere this day.  Every year we will remember the Women’s Rebellion and the changes the revolt provoked.  Our daughters and granddaughters and their daughters will hold memorial marches – victorious.  And the little ones will be taught the history.  All of it, so it never happens again.

A Perfect Breakfast

Livia had been up for hours already.  She’d done a load of clothes, unloaded the dishwasher, and had been in the garden cutting daffodils to set in a vase on the kitchen table.  Looking out the window at the sunrise it occurred to her she should be hungry. 

Mornings without Greg were difficult and she was aware she filled them with activity to keep from thinking.  But the sunrise caught her attention and she allowed herself to remember.

Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash

Sunday.  Today was Sunday.  Greg would be in the kitchen separating eggs, slicing chives, and grating gruyere.  Opening the refrigerator to get the heavy cream, he would burst into song.  Probably an aria she wasn’t familiar with.  His love of opera confounded her. 

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Appalachia was in the greening.  That time in early spring when the green leaves on the trees were so slight, so new, so small, that they were more of a green haze than a green bower.

The greening on this April day was superb.  The sky was the blue of a robin’s eggs with air so clear and so clean it was like Thanksgiving crystal before the feast.

With the revival of the garden, the greening, came the realization that winter was over.  Happiness flooded Charlotte’s heart.  On her knees, she pulled weeds from around the irises, making room for the hollyhocks to begin their biannual ascent.  “I am blissful,“ she said aloud.  She grinned though there was no one in the garden to see her or hear her.  

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Mourning Doves

What stage of grief is it when mourning doves are cooing and the soft morning air carries the sound to me in my bed. That sound. What stage of grief is that sound?

Photo by Stefan Gogov on Unsplash

When I was twelve, my mom sent me to the store for lettuce. I can’t remember why, but I didn’t ride my bike. It was six blocks. And very hot. The heat surprised me. It was crystal clear and not humid, but the heat was oppressive. It lay on my body like a boulder. I pretended I was trekking through the desert in search of the Holy Grail. In my mind, so very fertile in those days, I saw myself on my knees croaking, “Water, water.” It was so hot.

I bought the head of lettuce and the bag boy put it in a full-size, brown paper bag. The sweat of my hands left large blotches on the paper. It seemed much too large. He embarrassed me when he said, “Can I carry that to your car, ma’am?” He did it just to be mean. I flushed, and he and the cashier laughed. I knew them both from the school bus – they were two of the high school kids that picked on the rest of us.

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