As I opened the fridge door and wondered what would take the edge off my hunger, before I want out for my walk, I heard my mother, sitting at the kitchen table, say,
“I never wanted to be so opinionated.”
I glanced at her, sitting under the pendulum clock on the wall–a clock that had measured out my childhood and still chimes in my dreams sometimes –and returned my attention to the fridge. I selected a slice of beef, now a dull reddish color because the well-done edges of the roast had been polished off after church the day before, added a slice of Yorkshire pudding, folded it around the beef to make an impromptu English sandwich, and demolished it in a few bites.
Glancing again at my mother, who seemed lost in some private reverie, I said, a bit indistinctly as my mouth was still chewing roast beef, “You don’t seem opinionated to me, Mom.”
“Sometimes I feel that all I have are my opinions,” she continued, leaving me unsure whether she was responding to my statement, or continuing with the theme she had launched when I entered the kitchen. “Everything I think is a thought that only adds to something I have already thought.”
I found myself wondering if she was feeling depressed, and pondered that if everything we thought was just adding to what we have already thought, then there could be no creativity or originality. I paused at the kitchen doorway, on my way to the dining room, turned and said, “You’re creative. You do pottery, you write things, you ponder the role of humanity in the world. You seem open to exploring new possibilities when you do those things.”
She seemed not to hear me and I continued into the front of the house, took off my slippers, put on rubber boots, donned a raincoat and hat, grasped the front door handle, and swung it open.
My mother was standing there, her face wet with rain, looking exhilarated after her long walk.