Thursday, June 4, 2009

Another moving day

We're back, after a fairly endless day of moving that actually wasn't all that bad, just long and wearying. Woke to a rainy dim Cape morning, with the ashen aspect of the breakwater and Provincetown Harbor out our motel window. It looked like some moody English seaside resort. For breakfast We went to a place we've always liked, a decades-old local restaurant, doggedly unfancy, with stuffed fish on the knotty pine walls. It represented something likable about Provincetown, with its mix of old Portuguese families, gay and straight tourists, old people -- all having fried fish platters and various kinds of cod, accompanied by baked potatoes and bowls of iceberg lettuce. Very sweet. Though this morning when we walked in, the woman at the door actually said -- instead of say,"Good morning"-- "Well, you're not fisherman so I'll have to seat you in the back." Every head in the place swiveled when we followed her to our table; we were the only gay men in the place, as it seemed to be some kind of fishing breakfast club meeting. I was steaming, sent to the back of the bus because I wasn't a hetero guy. I mean, does the fact that we're wearing nicely dark jeans and stylish glasses definitively indicate that we're not fishermen? Are gay men and fishermen two exclusive groups? Somehow this seemed especially wrong after the President's marvelous speech this morning, which we'd listened to over in-room coffee in the motel. Americans and Muslims, he noted, are not exclusive categories, are not in opposition. With homosexual men and fishermen, it may be a different story.

Or maybe that's just Provincetown, where the ongoing drama of sexual difference -- which seems to offer freedom and acceptance -- goes on provoking tension and polarization.

Then to the storage unit, where in a while two very nice Haitian guys showed up, and very carefully loaded their truck with all our boxes and furniture, talking soft Creole all the while. I was moved, watching them carry things out, because the old furniture looked so beautiful, and suddenly I felt that it really had been worth it to store that stuff for three years, and that something wonderful had been saved from the past. The loading took till noon, followed by an afternoon of traveling, and what with waiting two hours for a ferry it was after eight when we got home, and nine by the time the movers arrived. They carried things in (with lots of assistance from us) in the dark. Now our house seems disorderly and full of things to be attended to, but in truth there's lots of promise, too.

I opened only one box, which was labeled "kitchen." The contents seemed to have nothing to do with the kitchen whatsoever -- some framed pages from a 19th century botanical album of pressed and labeled plants, and an open tin can of Arden's favorite food, in which we'd saved, in the weeks after his death, the bits of black dog hair we'd find on the floorboards or on the rug. The very first box I open and it pierced my heart.


jayme said...


it is amazing and poignant how you intrinsically reached for the box that you missed the most. i'm glad that you did, even though it brought tears to my eyes.

Mim said...

O, dear Arden. Thank you for this post, Mark--so many notes.

KLA said...

What Came to Me
(Jane Kenyon)

I took the last
dusty piece of china
out of the barrel.
It was your gravy boat,
with a hard, brown
drop of gravy still
on the porcelain lip.
I grieved for you then
as I never had before.