My shoe caught on the curb of the pavement as I got out of the car door and suddenly, the pavement flew up to my face and I landed on the sidewalk.
I’d been on my way to deliver forms to a store in Mission, hurrying because I had so much to do. Hurrying because I was trying to get on top of things.
Willy, my husband, is now living at Pleasantview and I have his power of attorney, and I am getting used to being in charge of all the items with which Willy used to deal.
I lay wounded on the pavement in shock, and not a soul in sight to help me. I was doused with hard pellets of rain and just couldn’t get up from that undignified position. A Good Samaritan appeared from out of nowhere and picked up my bleeding self. I hung on to him while he helped me into the store where I had been headed.
The staff were horrified when they saw my bleeding face, hand and knee, and swabbed it all with a warm, damp cloth. There was a bump on my head and they called for an ambulance in case I had a concussion. But emergency said they thought I was OK and my daughter came to drive me back home.
The next day my knee hurt. It hurt and hurt and there was no relief. It wasn’t broken, but was inflamed. I fed myself Tylenol and laid on the chesterfield to think about it all.
To think about being 87 and what part of the vortex my life was in.
I’m on the losing end of living, just 13 years shy of being 100 years old!
Some time later, I stood in a gallery welcoming an audience to the opening of my last solo painting show with my tortured knee hidden under a long gown as scars formed my skin like a crocodile’s. It was the end of many years of solo shows and I felt like a balloon which had been led by a guiding string, but was now cast adrift.
I have recovered from the fall, but not from the knowledge that maybe my meaningful years are done — finished. Child-rearing is over, and painting seems to have shut its door. As Willy is in a care facility, our togetherness is over.
I wander from room to room, or nap on the chesterfield flipping TV channels, in the hopeless hope I’ll catch a program that suits me. I pick up yet another book to read which has won an award, but I think it’s trite and not good writing.
Where do I belong now after my last solo show, and after that ruddy fall? It is like I was lying on the pavement, helpless and no use for anything.
But wait a minute. Here I am, writing a piece.
Today, I’ll go with Willy on the bus for residents of his facility. I guess I have a role there. Tomorrow I’ll buy some plants so Willy can plant them and fill in his time looking after them. I’ve kept books which explain how to write novels. Well, who knows?
My autobiography is getting put in to book form, and I look up to see mounted on my studio wall, the angel trophy which I just won in a senior’s talent contest declaring me Mission’s Golden Idol of 2011.
I’ll keep going whatever my muse calls me to do. After all, one door closes and another opens. And I’ll try to catch another string to a balloon.
Doris Paterson is a long-time Mission
resident, and accomplished artist.