What Will I Be Today?
Painting by Teresa Fasolino

 

It’s Saturday and so there’s no schedule. I won’t even have to get my hair in braids if I don’t feel like. I could hide away in my bedroom and see if anybody misses me. Be a hermit or an elf. Color markers don’t disturb anyone. I might try a design on my tablet, my new perfect tablet of clean white paper. I’d be an artist.

 

Or is it Sunday? Will someone soon be asking me and my poor knees to bend and join the clumsy people who squash the purple cushions at Holy Name? Who’s the priest now? The young guy quit, I remember. Do they have a new one yet? Well, my folks aren’t faithful Catholics anymore. Maybe I could go on my own – just a block away! That way I’d be a Good Catholic today.

World traveler? Where is that stack of magazines with the yellow border? They always have pictures of strange places. I can never pronounce the names. And some of them are creepy like with snakes swallowing huge lumps – ugh. I could just pick out the stories of nice places. Fancy cities with lots of glass and lights at night. And mountains with snow.

Wise princess could be nice. There’s a lot of people who need to be told how to act and what to say. Weren’t they taught their manners? Well, maybe their parents got divorced and no one had time to teach them. It would feel so good to solve their problems. I could sit in a pink velvet chair with curvy legs and serve them tea and cookies when they came for advice. I would tell them always to be kind and polite to one another. Unless it’s a criminal or a very nasty person. Those crackly cookies, like little waffle sticks, with white icing inside, they would be perfect. I would be the Wise Princess Counselor for the day. And I wouldn’t have to be her again until I felt like it.

Or a slob. Hee hee. I could sneak ice cream from the freezer for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I could put chocolate ice cream on my Wheaties. I could make a sandwich with ice cream in the middle, like with toaster waffles. Then I could pour Hershey’s syrup over the top. And bring them all to my bed and eat in bed. So what if the bed gets messy? I’d just tear off the sheets and sleep on the mattress! If I wanted to be very bad, I could pick my nose and eat the snots. I haven’t done that for a very long time. It must have tasted good or I wouldn’t have done it. I think I was 5 or 6. It would be great to be a slob for a day. It is great to be 96 years old and have so much freedom. I can do anything I want.

 

Author's Comment

I was feeling the necessity of keeping myself positive as we entered the third month of pandemic restrictions. I realized it was pretty much totally up to me to do so. I live alone, a widow except for the paperwork. Close friends and family are far away. I also recognized the me-first duty as a basically selfish attitude, the typical outlook of a child. I’m quite far from the character’s 96 years, but see myself following her advice –  giving myself as much freedom of choice as safely possible. I haven’t decided whether she is senile in this episode or just entertaining herself.

Bio

Linda Weimer is a retired reporter for Patuxent Publishing of Columbia, Md. who has branched out into other genres of writing as a founding member of the Chestertown Writers Group, now in its ninth year. As a freelancer, her work appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Sierra Magazine, and about a dozen other magazines. This is her second appearance in Persimmon Tree (Shrub It! which appeared in 2016). She is the proud mom of a college philosophy professor, Steve, a grandmom of Theo Weimer, age 5, and mom-in-law to Kate Krueger, a college administrator.

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