The first thing I ate today was potato chips; not a good sign. There were ants all over the kitchen so I had to wipe them out before making scrambled eggs for Avalon and I. It’s one of those days where the ground is really cold and the sky is very blue. The ocean actually looks olive and brown from all the recent wind and rain. But I want to rewind back before all of this to when it was hot and dry and Maddie was sick.
On Friday I drove up to Orange County to visit her at the hospital. Due to the weakening of her immune system from chemotherapy, she had caught a virus; maybe the Noro virus all those people got from Chipotle around the holidays. I don’t know why we always end up talking about sex when she’s at the hospital, but we do. Then a priest came in and then Maddie’s boyfriend’s mom. It was a funny order of events.
The priest came to give us communion. If I miss church all the rest of the year, I always seem to make it back there for lent, but I haven’t this year. You could blame Avalon or you could blame me, but really I’m not going to blame anyone because I’m realizing as a 30 year old that blame seems to be one of those things that is unproductive and also excessively abundant.
So the priest gave us communion and absolved us of all of our sins with his Irish accent. I tried to assess him at first to see if he seemed like the type to touch alter boys under their garments, because even though I hate that I have the tendency to do that now, I think we’d all be lying if we said we didn’t. He seemed innocent and pure, and of course, how can you really know, but he appeared to be so full of God that it was both comforting and intimidating to make eye contact with him. Maddie and I both cried as we took communion, something we’ve been doing together since our Catholic grade school days. I never feel self-conscious crying in front of a priest. And maybe it’s a conditioned response, but somehow, in the moments before and during and after I take communion, I feel God’s presence; a voice so strong and confident about things that I know it can’t be mine; a love that feels weighty and whole.
After that Scott, Avalon and I drove through the California desert, past the wind mills and outlet malls to La Quinta, near the Coachella Valley.
Avalon chased a Maltipoo named Frankie which made me actually consider getting a dog; she was so happy, she was so occupied and I was just sitting there with relaxed shoulders. We drank almond flavored tequila after she went to bed and cooked tacos like my dad’s mom Jo-Momma the second night. We swam in the cold pool and took hikes on the sand and gravel paths. The owner of the AirBnB we rented warned us that the community hadn’t totally embraced the idea of vacation rentals yet and to keep our presence obscure, but on our walks in the neighborhood, 16 couples and five babies, everyone seemed so excited and happy to see us. It was an ideal reunion of friends who I can honestly say have only grown closer since college.
Maddie got out of the hospital on Saturday and Avalon and I spent the day with her Tuesday. She only has three more chemo treatments left! Then we are going to have a huge party. My dad even bought a tunnel that’s shaped like a colon for their driveway. And now it feels there’s a light at the end of this tunnel too.