In my dream we drive past an aviary, a huge enclosed space full of greenery and sparsely populated with exotic birds. They are caged but would barely have cause to complain since the cage is wide and high. The dream is so real that in the morning I am resolved to go back and find the aviary until I remember that I only dreamt it.
Sometimes I barely notice my cage and feel little cause to complain. There is still width and breadth for so much.
Lisa is my proxy sightseer. Up at 5 or 6 for a walk, yoga and to buy us both our drugs of choice (chai for me, caffeine for her) in bed after a long walk by 10 or 11, she spends the day a captain of industry, uncovering every quirky adventure to be had in Sydney then dutifully reporting them in thick description. I thirst to hear of her latest adventure – like Thomas’ Pool for Women, Girls and Juvenile Boys ( presumably this means young men who act very immature?) The pool is really the ocean with a barrier wall and it sports a sign that says “Warning: dangerous creatures may wash in.” Behind the walls of Thomas’ pool, Muslim women shake off their super – hot (not in the good way) chadors and enjoy the relief of the cold water, hardy elderly women do their laps and people like Lisa soak it up and hope that sharks are not among the dangerous creatures washing in.
I forgot to mention in my last post that Nurse Peter wheeled me out of the hospital and into the parking lot on New Year’s Eve where Lisa, Dad, Mac and I ended up having a brilliant view of the fireworks. They exploded into hearts and cloudbursts and off at Circular Quay we could hear the crowds cheering. The fireworks are said to be among the best in the world. We all thought I’d miss them so to us they seemed especially grand and Mac perked up for the first time since I got sick.
My dad has been amazingly generous – generous with money, with his time and with allowing me time to just be with Mac. You see Mac and I will never again have a vacation alone. I’m so glad we acted like Sayulita was our last solo trip because it was.
How many “last times” have you had when you absolutely knew it was the last? Last day of high school or college? Making love one last time with an ex? Moving from a home that you’ve lived in for a long time? Aren’t those last times rich – swollen with memories, mourning, passion and possibility? I have “last times” a lot. The latest was amusement park rides. We were at Luna Park an old 30s style park ground which we got to by a fascinating ferry ride with a crusty old one-legged skipper. Although the ferry is wheelchair accessible, there are steps from the ferry to Luna Park. Our one-legged skipper shouts “Oy” (spelled the same as the Jewish “oy” but never to be confused for the other) and a large young fellow runs up to help Dad and Mac lift me and the wheelchair up the steps.
We decide on our rides – Lisa and Dad to the ferris wheel to see the view, Dad and Mac on the bumper cars and Mac and me on the Tango. Now sure, I could continue to go on some pussy ride like the swan bench on the carousel but that kind of defeats the point now doesn’t it? We chose a ride that was moderately adrenalizing rather than a full-on roller coaster which even I knew would be suicidal.
Later Lisa reported that my Dad was not comfortable with my doing this particular ride but in the end felt it was my life. I love that about him. The guy taking tickets had to go get a supervisor who asked me a series of questions re-my fitness to take the ride. Once he was satisfied, they moved me from chair to car and I had a ball ….for one quarter of the ride. Once the car picked up speed I realized how useful hands are for holding bars and ankles are to brace oneself against overpowering G force. Mac put his shoulder over mine and pressed me against the back of the seat to the best of his ability, speaking to me calmly “Are you okay? “I got you” “Do you want me to stop the ride?’
Yes. I stopped the ride half way at the point where they tease you that it’s about to go much faster. My hands and feet were shaking so hard I couldn’t hold on at all. They shook so hard I couldn’t help at all with the transfer back to the chair and the feet continued to shake until the ferry arrived.
Bittersweet to experience this last time with my boy who I used to comfort on scary rides and who has grown into a nurturing young man. I remember taking the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland with him when he was 5 and reassuring him to no avail as we were assaulted by snakes and rogue boulders until finally when the ride ended he bolted and I had to chase after him. “THEY LIED” he screamed when I caught up to him. “THIS IS NOT THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH!” I cracked up. Tears and laughter seem to go hand in hand.