In our bathroom we have two sinks. Marty’s side with all of the cotton balls, q-tips, perfume and other assorted feminine stuff. Mostly, I have left this side alone except to replenish appropriate supplies. My side is the manly side with manly deodorant, manly shaving cream and of course the manly little hairs and toothpaste remnants in the sink. Top this off with smudges on the mirror and you can always identify my side of the bathroom.
The calendar on the wall by my sink is not manly; it’s actually too feminine for a manly side of the bathroom. Marty put it up there and I never really liked it. There’s an old picture of a pretty young maiden that graces the calendar, a young lady with short blonde curls and a kind of turned up nose and rosy lips. The picture is a replica of a 1922 Saturday Evening Post cover. There is a small bouquet of flowers alongside a red and white striped hat box in front of the young lady. She is trying to look very sophisticated as she looks over her right shoulder. She is wearing an Easter bonnet in honor of the month of Easter.
I see this calendar every day we’re here; I see it is stuck on April 2005. I see it when I shave and leave the little hairs in the sink. I see it when I brush my teeth and leave the little globs of toothpaste in the sink. I see it every morning as I step out of the shower and drip water, not on the bathmat but on the floor. I see it and I know the calendar is old, that it is stuck on a date, a date when my life with Marty changed. Marty’s cerebral aneurysm ruptured on April 2, 2005. I changed the calendar from March to April that day, a Saturday five years ago; it is still on that month, that year.
When Marty had that stroke our house was essentially empty for two months and upon return I never gave the calendar a thought, it was just there. I have thought about removing the calendar for five years. I have tried to take it down several times, actually standing in front of the wall waiting for the electrons in my brain to fire and command my hands and arms to remove the thumbtack holding it to the wall. It just doesn’t happen.
I don’t know why I can’t just take it down and throw it away, it makes no sense. I think in some ways I’m afraid to remove it, I think I’m afraid it will change things. I believe in some really convoluted way I think things will get worse when the calendar is gone, that somehow the calendar represents stability, that it encompasses a long past status quo and that it represents the last vestige of Marty’s normalcy. I’m afraid if the calendar is gone it will be acquiescence to the disease, a kind of fatalism I don’t like.
I know the calendar has nothing special to it. I know we have long sense moved past April of 2005, I know intellectually it is somehow symbolic of hanging on to what was. I know all of this; I just haven’t been able to move it, yet.
I asked Marty the other day about the calendar and she pointed out that it was still on April and even she knew it currently wasn’t April or 2005 that the calendar was way out of date. I told her about the power of the calendar and she said we should just leave it where it was, but then she liked the calendar in the first place.