It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had time to participate in The Red Dress Club meme. I’m happy to be back for this week’s assignment: "Take a character from one of your stories and examine his or her iPod playlist. What 10 songs best describe the character?" I’ve been using these exercises to provide a back-story for the characters of my (very slowly) developing novel.
Laverne walks into the house as I am lacing up my running shoes. She never fails to arrive. Every Saturday morning she comes into my house with a box of Dunkin’ Doughnuts Munchkins for the kids and coffee for herself. The kids awake from their stupor in front of Saturday morning cartoons at the sound of her voice.
“Laverne! Laverne!” They hug her and take the box of sweets into the living room.
“Thanks Laverne. You don’t need to bring those every week.” I told her.
“I know I don’t have to Michaela. I want to. Now you go on your run and let me play with my babies.” She snuggled into the couch with John and Brianna.
A few weeks after Barry died, Laverne showed up at my house armed with doughnuts and coloring books. I had always gone for a long run on Saturday mornings while Barry watched cartoons with the kids. With him gone, I stopped running. Laverne knew I needed to get back on the road. I was in pain and didn’t even have the outlet I needed for normal day-to-day stress. She didn’t ask if she could come by—she knew I would have refused the offer. So she just showed up one gorgeous 55º spring morning and told me to go running. She hasn’t missed a week since.
I grabbed my iPod and headed out the door. I hadn’t updated my playlist for a long run in a while, so I just hit shuffle and started walking to warm up.
On my Own from Les Miserables. Ugh—beautiful song, but ringing a little too true with me these days. I listen for a moment or two but skip to the next song before I start to get weepy.
I Get by with a Little Help from my Friends by the Beatles. I laugh as it begins to play. Laverne and my other friends (now called “the aunties” by my children) took up the responsibility to help me in so many ways. They arranged to have my lawn mowed, saw to it that I never ran out of milk or toilet paper, and took the kids outside to play so I could hide under my covers and cry. They gave me time to grieve and heal. Plenty of folks showed up with casseroles the week or two after Barry died. But “the aunties” didn’t stop coming.
Stuck in a Moment by U2. Yes I was. But I’m not any more.
Ready to Run by Dixie Chicks. Yes I am. I pick up the pace and start to jog.
Are you Strong Enough to be My Man by Sheryl Crow. I think of Adam trying to figure out what I want and what I need. It seems strange to have a boyfriend, if that is what he is, after having a husband for eleven years.
The Lord’s Arms by Ben Harper. Maybe hitting shuffle wasn’t such a good idea. I try to keep pace as I listen to the lyrics and try to find comfort knowing Barry is at peace.
For Good from Wicked. I wonder if he knew. I was never stingy with my affection. I always told him I loved him. But did he know? Did he really know that I was a better person because he was in my life? I find myself walking instead of running and pick up the pace again. He would want me to keep running. I am all the kids have now. I have to care for this heart and this body.
Hammer and a Nail by The Indigo Girls. I take a deep breath and resume my pace. It’s time to get to work. Keep this body in shape. Keep this family in tact.
Happy Ending by Sugarland. I’m running at a steady of pace now. A happy ending is just what I need.