Annie, like Ives, has lived a life of disappointments. She dreamed of getting her doctorate in English literature, teaching at a university. She wanted to travel, see the world with Ives. Instead, she has had to compromise. Ives, in his grief, is unable to even contemplate a future where the memory of his dead son doesn't haunt his every waking minute. So, Annie takes classes, goes to movies, and grows older.
I get Annie Ives tonight. As I sit in my university office typing this post, I'm taking stock of my life. I've already gone over the usual catalog of things I haven't accomplished in my life: owning a nice house (we have two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a whole lot of junk), teaching full-time at a university (I work in a medical office and teach part-time at the college), writing and publishing books (I've published one poetry collection, almost ten years ago), traveling (the furthest I've gone in the last five years is the Wisconsin Dells). I could go on.
I'm feeling old tonight. I just went to the bathroom and, as I was washing my hands, I looked at myself in the mirror. I didn't like what I saw: a tired, middle-aged man.
In a couple hours, I'm going to pick my daughter up at her dance studio. For the twenty minute drive home, we will talk to each other. No electronic distractions. She sometimes tells me about school or dance. Other times, we talk about movies or music. At this point in her life, my daughter still thinks I'm slightly cool. I'm a poet and a college professor. I watch weird movies and give her weird books to read.
I'm like Annie Ives talking to her daughter, Caroline, feeling, for a few minutes, young and vibrant and hopeful. Until I get home. Then my daughter will disappear into a bedroom with the laptop, and I will change into my pajamas and sink into the couch. I'll probably be nodding off before the ten o'clock news is over.
Saint Marty needs to walk on the wild side tonight. Maybe he'll drink some Diet Mountain Dew before he goes to bed.
|Funny thing is, I kind of look like that statue|