Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Night Frolic - The Bad Wife

His lower abdomen is punctured with tiny holes for the trocars, blown up with CO
and the wall is illuminated
She walks the city streets in Boston. Back Bay and Beacon Hill. He is in able hands.
There is nothing else to be done.
Three hours in the OR and three more in recovery. A stroll in the Public Garden.
The Swan Boats have been stored for the season. Still, the city's oasis sings botanic.
A poke in Shreve, Crump and Low. Too sparkly.
Lunch at Figs. Crinkled spinach, bacon and Parmesan salad. She eats
the very last dark leaf.
A massage. Soft tissue, she says. Stares from the headrest at the mossy green carpet.
What are they cutting now?
Isabelle's Curly Cakes on Charles Street: They make a
damn good cupcake.
It is, after all, owned by renowned chef Todd English. (As is Figs.) At four bucks
a pop every morsel is savored.
The surgeon calls and says he'd been looking for her in the family
waiting area, expected her to be there.
I'm around the corner, she says. Oh, well, says the surgeon, he's going to be fine.
She repeats it. Collapses, shutters inward relief.
She goes to the waiting room. The attendant says the surgeon was looking
for her. He seemed disappointed, she says.
Thanks, she thinks, I'm the bad wife.
No one misses the Chief.
They let her run up to recoveryonly on Ellison do they allow that, the attendant says.
She sees him on the gurney.
Bloated and wired with input and output, says he's happy to see her.
Boy, am I happy to see you. 
She collapses again. Smiles and says, the surgeon says you won't remember anything in
recovery. You remember the surgeon seeing you in recovery?
I do, he says.
Her hair is greasy with healing oils. She hopes he doesn't notice.
His head is wrapped in a cream colored blanket and he looks like an old Babushka.
She leaves him, again, to rest.
There is nothing else to be done.
Has dinner at PF Chang'sno Todd English at PF Chang's. Returns to the hospital.
Tubes and drains and Foley catheter. Instructions and prescriptions and precautions.
Call if this. Don't worry if that. He'll go home tomorrow.
The whole damn summer into fall. This'd better be the end of it, she thinks.
It's fall. Fall is not decay. Fall is renewal. Renewal.
There is nothing else to be done.
She drives him home the next day. Box of cupcakes on the backseat.

Kate Fenner, the Canadian musician with the rich and sultry voice, began her singer/songwriter career in the 1980's with the alternative rock band Bourbon Tabernacle Choir. Since the disbanding of BTC in the mid 1990's she has recorded two solo albums and several others with Chris Brown, with whom she founded BTC

Fenner's last solo recording (January, 2007), Magnet, produced by Brown, includes this beautiful duet with Brown:  

More from Magnet can be heard here.

And from her days with Bourbon Tabernacle Choir:

According to her website, Fenner and Brown are currently working on their own renewed collaborationan album with an unscheduled release date. One never knows what's around the corner.


  1. ah, don't be so hard on her, she was worried for every minute. :)

    i've always thought fall felt more like renewal than decay too.

    we've got a $4 a pop cupcake shop around here too. those things are the definition of yummy.

  2. Excellent, entertaining, delightful story, but do you think he really wanted her to mope around the hospital the whole time? (well, probably. Men can be awfully self-centered when they are sick.)
    Loved it!

  3. She knows she is not a bad wife- she was simply keeping herself sane.

  4. God give us all bad wives, then! :-)

  5. Loved the piece.

    Fall is renewal for me. I love it. I think it's because I was born in October when the leaves hit their color's the start of my seasons.

  6. being a wife is a pretty tough job, so someone tells me ad infinitum.

    the good part of fall is over, september 24 to september 30. now it's time for hibernation until the spring.

  7. id- If she was she was careful not to let it show. Maybe too careful. ;)

    And when cupcakes are $4/pop you know the rent is way inflated.

  8. Nessa- Yes! Don't men want to be moped after, upon, around, over and under?! Well, maybe not all of them. I have three brothers, though, and a pretty good idea of how it all works when they have a little biddy boo boo. ;)

  9. Leonora- Sheesh, you all are way too forgiving of this lady!

  10. Dale- It was Socrates who said: By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher...and that is a good thing for any man.

    So, there you have it. ;D

  11. Loree- Me too--October baby! Glorious season. :)

  12. Munk- HAHA! Is a good wife with bad taste better? ;)

  13. It was abdominal surgery, so the wife-id craved food and the freedom to pursue it. Brain surgery would have sent her to the N's in the library. If it had been prostate surgery...

    Canada produces the most extraordinary musicians!

    And, did you know that Kimbra is coming to L.A. this winter? Wanna go?

  14. Liked this piece.
    She took her mind off the situation rather than fretting in the waiting room.

    I like fall too, except for the fact that it is followed by winter.

  15. Nance- Leave it to you to bring in the id. This, of course, would have been entirely unknown to her. She, on this crazed quest for butcher and larder whilst her husband's being pricked and carved.

    But how do you explain the massage? ;)

    Kimbra in LA! That is a great idea. Are you on her mailing list?!

  16. Antares- Yes, she would have driven herself crazy in the waiting room, I suppose.

    Come on! This woman is callous I tell you!

    Sorry, Winter makes me smile, too, Ant. Put on the snow shoes--it does wonders! ;)

  17. You always have the most beautiful and insightful words on your blog. Love the music too.

  18. Jayne, I love how you wrote this. Just enough words, like snapshots, cascading like steps from one move to the next. There was a certain importance to everything; it drew me in completely.
    It’s hard to be present when things are bloody and frightening. We need to be busy, move forward; have our hands on the steering wheel. I totally get it and so would most people…if they were honest. Amazing story!

  19. If I were lying in a sickbed riddled with holes, I'd consider myself blessed to have such a muse singing thusly over my shoulder. Although, as others have noted, she lacerates herself a bit too sharply. (Personally, I'd say shame on the surgeon for his haughty-sniffing half of the conversation.)

    Love Boston. Have been there only a few times -- only once since the Big Dig was (haha) "finished," so my memories of driving around there are probably irrevocably poisoned. But it's always been a wonderful city to walk around. If The Missus were in hospital up there I might've followed pretty much the same route as you, sans healing oils of course.

    Thank you for introducing me to Kate Fenner! (And "Bourbon Tabernacle Choir"? How funny!)

  20. Angela- I feel like I need a lot of insight right now! Glad you liked it. Fenner is fabulous. ;)

  21. Leah- I'm no good with blood. And to think my father suggested, at one point, I go into nursing. Are you kidding? I can barely take care of myself!

    I think she sounds terribly spoiled. But this may have been a rare occasion, so I guess I can forgive her. ;)

  22. JES- Did I not label this piece fiction? Oh, maybe it just seemed as if it were fiction, or a dream, or a nightmare... or basic denial. I don't know. If I were in the sickbed I may expect my other half to be right beside me. But then again, what can he do?

    The surgeon- a Harvard boy I hear. I think I'll finally be meeting him this Thursday. I fear his evil look.

    The fall in Boston is fantastic--that amber glow on its historic buildings, and cobblestone streets in the North End. And of course, the students are back, so it's alive with the younger ones. Everything seems richer, more intense.

    Fenner is a treasure. She's quite an activist too, and lends her talent out to many environmental causes. I have high hopes for the next collaboration. ;)

  23. Billy- Your comment got tossed in Spam! (So I just restored it.) I think that's pretty funny, ad infinitum. ;)

    Are you hibernating now?