Saturday, September 5, 2015

Home and Dry

I've always liked the duality of this song - the usual glossy Pet Shop Boys beat, here augmented with scenes of arty anomie, contrasted with what amounts, in this context, to a frankly sentimental lyric.

It comes up because today the Mister is in fact flying "all those dark and frantic / Transatlantic miles," en route home from Cairo.  I've been batching it for two weeks, and while in some ways it's been rather nice (one always recalls Mrs. Morehead's odd remark to her daughter, Mary Haines, about being able to stretch out in bed), it's more than time enough for him to be home.

And home is something I've been appreciating, for reasons large and small.  We've really made our little flat very pleasant, and it's especially so in these fading days of summer, when we can have the large sliding doors open on to the long terrace, and when the evening light makes it especially nice to sit outside, sipping a nice glass of vinho verde with a pair of satisfied terriers lazing about at one's feet. I've rearranged our living room so that one of the sofas sits up against the windows, and I'm looking forward on winter mornings to sitting there, looking out, Grandmother Muscato's old pink afghan on my feet, at the gray December sky.  The life predictable has its allures, no question.

"Home and dry;" something we take for granted: a measure of comfort both physical and spiritual, just from turning a lock in a door.  This week, as I've been enjoying myself solo, puttering around and cooking little messes and, Georgie-style, tidying the bibelots, it's been hard not to think, time and again, of the horrors and muddles going on that Mr. Muscato flies long haul above tonight.  A desperate tide of humanity presses against the porous southern borders of a startled and unprepared Europe, scenes from train stations and roadsides that seem as much dystopian fantasy as they do excerpts from the evening news.

"Please," begged one Facebook friend, a thoughtful and cosmopolitan man, a jazz musician in Cairo whose timeline is more usually devoted to the dazzling round of parties and concerts that has gone on unbroken through nearly all of the cataclysms of the last five years, "please don't post the picture anymore." It's not that he doesn't care (he's a hugely generous and charitable man), it's simply that it breaks the heart, and no one has to ask what picture.  I suppose you've seen it; if you've not, I envy you.

Today the sky, out beyond our tidy balcony, is gray and cloudy.  I'll throw some chicken in the slow cooker, bake a (healthy, olive oil-based) cake, and head downtown to lunch with Miss Rheba, visiting Our Nation's Captial for the National Book Fair.  Tonight I'll drive out to Dulles, maybe bring along one or even, if I'm ambitious, both of the the dogs.  We have the rest of the weekend off, and while the Mister catches up on his sleep (Mama never allows much rest, between the having to eat what she's cooked and listen to more than a years worth of family news, village gossip, and upbraiding at his lack of progeny), I'll pad around the apartment, doing the crossword, doing my exercises, reading my book (I'm starting my way through a bit of a Muriel Spark jag; if I turn cynical and aphoristic - or even more so - you'll know why).  Home and dry.

And all the while, in the back of my mind, that photo, those little shoes.

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