Greenwich by Laurel Blossom
Longitude 0°: I stand on the line upon which time depends.
East to the right of me, West to the left.
Noon, on the final day of a year.
Before the year I’ll be older than my mother ever was. The longevity problem.
Plus, I’m getting married again.
I said to Bev, my maiden aunt, her sister, it’ll be like having my mother here.
She said, it’ll be like having a daughter.
My daughter Allie lives in Los Angeles, her boyfriend lives in Vail.
Either they’re about to break up or they’re both going to move to Denver.
For my daughter, it would mean giving up a career.
For her boyfriend, it would mean giving up being a ski bum.
My mother always wanted one of those in the family.
My mother told me my husband would leave me if I couldn’t make hospital corners.
If you’re lucky enough to have a husband, she said.
So I had three.
My parents believed in appearances.
My father thought appearances were a sign of election.
If things looked good that meant they were good.
My mother knew appearances were desperate measures to hide the terrible truth.
Every meridian divides the Earth in two.
East is east, and West is west.
You know the rest.
On the other hand:
Barents Sea connected to Norwegian Sea, Norwegian Sea connected to Greenland Sea, Greenland Sea connected to North Atlantic, North Atlantic connected to South Atlantic, South Atlantic connected to Scotia Sea, Scotia Sea connected to South Pacific, South Pacific connected to Indian Ocean, Indian Ocean connected to Ararura Sea, Ararura Sea connected to Philippine Sea, Philippine Sea connected to North Pacific, North Pacific connected to Bering Sea, Bering Sea connected to East Siberian Sea, East Siberian Sea connected to Laptev Sea, Laptev Sea connected to Kara Sea, Kara Sea connected to Barents Sea.
Now hear the word of the Lord.
Washington’s full of interesting men and the women they married when they were young, pronounced my first husband.
So I left him there, I took my daughter, I married Jack instead.
Last night she called: I think Jack’s dying.
My bed doesn’t work, Jack said to her.
What do you mean? she asked.
When I go to bed, he said, it doesn’t work.
Meaning, she said, he can’t sleep. You know how he used to be so happy, Mom, sitting in the same chair for hours on end? Well, now he can’t sit still at all.
He walks around his house naked all night.
His eyes are bright yellow.
He said, I want Channel 3.
She said, punch 0-3.
He punched 6-6.
Every death divides the earth in half.
Morning to the East, mourning in the West.
I want to marry him again.
Meantime, in that house my parents bought when they first married.
In the room where my sister pushed her fingers into the paint-by-number painting I’d left half-finished on the couch.
Above that couch a wallpaper world map, East Coast in the center, Maine to Miami.
Little clocks at the top marking the time zones.
I could have killed her.
Then my daughter found Jack collapsed on the floor.
Sometime after noon, as he was getting out of bed, dead.
So Jack’s dead, Vincent and I are getting married, my daughter hung up on her Colorado boyfriend, my sister made partner, and I’m about to outlive my own mother.
Unless otherwise noted, all times are given in Local Standard Time.