Helen, Gertrude, Millie, and Alice.
Those are good names. They smoke, no filter, and smush out their charred nubs in a beanbag ashtray before reaching for another Entenmann’s cookie. They are all in housedresses, and they get their hair done at the same beauty parlor.
I picture the remaining eggs in my body as these four older women sitting around a card table. Each of them reluctant to go down the shoot and often choosing to stay, pour a drink, and play cards instead.
I’m sure I have more than four eggs left, but at this point, I think the credits are about to roll, and the party is winding down.
I suppose I could be upset about this, pine for the days when the tiny apartment was teeming with potential and choices yet made. There is not a lot of happy news out there for women getting older. Of course, the pill peddlers are usually the most doom and gloom.
Rough or smooth, women have managed getting older since the beginning of time, and the truth about change is universal. If we don’t keep moving forward, life stalls and things get stale. Not that I would ever call “the ladies” stale. They prefer vintage at this point.
While I don’t always appreciate the apartment thermostat being on the fritz or that right after I’ve managed my mascara (no easy feat, stretching tiny lashes) I cry over the silliest things, I can’t complain.
That apartment on the corner of Uterus and Fallopian has served me well. A little vomit and some swollen ankles were all I dealt with in exchange for magic.
Sure there were times the parties got out of hand when the ladies were younger. They could be a real pain in my side or my back, but that too was a small price to pay. Despite everything that could have gone wrong, three healthy babies came out of that apartment.
One of them turned eighteen last week, and another will be twenty-one in a few days.
So, if Helen wants to watch QVC while Gertrude and Millie take a nap and Alice eats a frozen dinner on her TV tray, I still can’t complain.
If one of them says she’s going to show up and skips out on me a few more times, who cares? They don’t have much time left and toughing it out is the least I can do after everything they’ve given me.
At some point, the apartment will be empty. Again, according to what I’ve bothered to Google, this should be a “difficult transition for any woman.”
I may be a little nutso while the ladies pack up the last of their boxes and head out, but we’ve had a blast. They are worth every inconvenience.
Without them, I wouldn’t have morning faces, rolling eyes, or people to tell my stories when it’s my final turn at the card table.
Helen, Gertrude, Millie, Alice, and all the ladies that dropped down the shoot before them have my endless gratitude. I will take a deep breath and strive to make them proud, but damn, could someone call maintenance about that thermostat?
My thoughts from the laundry room. Open a Window.