The first few days of the New Year have not been too kind to me. A mere eight hours into 2017, I awoke with a fierce pain firmly nestled in my lower back. One would think the hurtful twinge received an engraved invitation the way it had settled into my muscles. It really shouldn’t have been much of a surprise to me, considering I had twice gotten up in the middle of the night and was reduced to silent tears (so I wouldn’t wake my husband) as I leaned for support first on the radiator then the end of the bed then the window sill and then the door jamb on my 5-minute trek to the bathroom – a one-way journey that usually takes all of 15 seconds.
So when I woke up this morning, Day 4 of 2017, after 6 doses each of tramadol (wheeee!) and paracetamol, nausea that kept me mostly confined to the bed the previous 3 days and a headache looming in the background, I was delighted to find myself in less pain than when I drifted off to sleep the previous evening.
After carefully getting out of bed, stretching as much as my tender back would allow me and stepping into the shower, my six-degrees-of-separation thought process began.
While lathering up, my mind wandered to the day before when my stepson mentioned that he was going to get a can of Coke from the larder. Larder. Funny word, that larder.
In thinking of that large white cabinet on the east side of the kitchen within which, hidden behind the brushed nickel door handles, lies a veritable cornucopia of snacktopian delights, it brought to mind a similar (but not really) cabinet tucked away in the corner of the dining room in my childhood home. Our cabinet, which was always referred to as “the monster,” (and is still in my Daddy’s home to this day) didn’t serve as a 24-hour snackapalooza dispatch point but, instead, showed off my Mom’s fine China and vast collection of Hummel figurines direct from Germany.
Third Degree midlife six degrees of separation
In thinking about “the Monster,” I giggled. As far as I know, no one else called it that and, to be honest, I’m not sure why we referred to it as such ourselves. Other (more dull? less creative?) people would call it something else, like, oh, I dunno, maybe a hutch, a China cabinet or a breakfront. Which leads me to the next degree . . .
Fourth Degree midlife six degrees of separation
Here’s where it really gets nostalgic. I’m transported back in time, to 1975, and the first time I saw the now classic Black film, “Cooley High,” set in 1960s Chicago. Oh, what a great movie.
Ahhhh, Cooley High. It starred Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs as Cochise, a high school basketball star who had a way with the young ladies. Hilton-Jacobs also played alongside John Travolta as a “Sweathog” on Welcome Back, Kotter. While white female pubescent teens were losing their minds over Vinnie Barbarino, young black girls everywhere were drooling and swooning over Hilton-Jacobs’ Freddie “Boom Boom” Washington.
Sixth Degree midlife six degrees of separation
Now it gets a bit weepy. It was all fun and games until somebody got hurt. In the case of Cooley High, Cochise sadly lost his life – he was beaten to death under the “L” train tracks by neighborhood thugs, Stone and Robert (played by then real-life gang bangers). At the end of the movie, as Preach watches while Cochise’s casket is being lowered into the ground, “It’s So Hard Say to Goodbye to Yesterday” (a song remade by Boys II Men in 1991) plays in the background. Go ahead; I’ll wait while you get a tissue.
The emotionally gut-wrenching song underscores the pain and sadness felt at the loss of such a promising young man. Back then, it felt real to me. (If I’m being honest, today, it still does.) I didn’t just tear up. No, that would have been way too simple. I went through a range of emotions, ending with a full-on ugly-faced snot-nosed cry. You know the kind I’m talking about — the cry that shakes your body to its foundation and you bury your face in your hands because you want no one, and I do mean no one, to see the gruesomeness that has become your face.
And there I stood, back in present day 2017, in the shower with hot water cascading down my soapy body. Those six degrees of separation led me to this point in time – the moment when I nearly burst into tears at the memory of Cochise’s demise and that tear-jerking song.
Such is the mind of a midlife woman…that one thought which began with happiness digressed to a near-meltdown. I’ve since had ample time to pull myself together. I ate a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and am now enjoying a hot cup of Yorkshire’s finest, Yorkshire Tea, while sitting at the kitchen table in Harrogate. But sill, when I think about Cochise . . .
Has your midlife mind led you down a path to six degrees of separation?