God’s Refrigerator

The first post on my new blog for adult children of divorce–check it out!

Sarah Geringer

img_1442I love my cluttered collection of magnets, photos, and business cards on the sides of my refrigerator.   When I take a phone call or sort our recycling items, I look over my collection and it makes me smile.  Corny, glittered mementos from tourist shops. Handmade creations from my children’s classrooms.  Oldie-but-goodie prints from our dating days.

The one item that always gives me pause is my August 1993 school portrait.

The 15-year-old me was nervous and excited that day.  Freshly hatched from a spiritual rebirth experience in the basement bathroom the week prior, I was ready to enter my junior year with verve for the Lord.

Little did I know that in two short months my lifelong best friend would move away, and I would turn all my hurt inward and slide downward, even entertaining suicidal thoughts.

I wasn’t aware that my depression was linked to all the hurt, anger…

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Daddy’s clothes, 1994

stained glass

As I closed the door

and he walked away

my heart raced

as it does after a nightmare.

Ten minutes ago he asked

if I would wear his class ring.

I panicked, sputtering excuses:

“You paid a lot of money for it,”

and “It’s way too big.”

I’m not ready

to be stamped with his brand.

I’ll put on Daddy’s old sweatshirt

and hug my arms around my middle.

Big and baggy is in

and boys don’t stare.

I wear Daddy’s blue oxford dress shirts,

bass fishing tournament tees

(even though I hate flying hooks)

and printed rayon button-downs.

My favorite shirt drapes softly over me

with its moody kaleidoscope:

dark blues and purples, greens and magenta

fragmented by black lines

like a Tiffany lampshade.

When I look through the violet panes

melancholy floods me

and I long for the touch

of something just beyond my reach.

Sunday dinner, July 1985

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Chicka-chicka-chicka

the pressure cooker prattles

on the avocado stove

while I help Grandma

set the table for ten.

All is green:

speckled linoleum

vinyl tablecloth

tiny flowers rimming plates.

I stack Roman Meal

and sneak a lick of Country Crock before she sees.

Grandma rolls thick dumplings

for the simmering chicken

and cuts them with a butter knife

before dropping them into golden broth.

I love their rich pillow softness

with sharp pepper and salt.

I look out on the garden:

corn reaching tall

tomatoes vining wild

cantaloupe spreading wide.

Our sweet and savory sides.

Grandma turns sheet cake

into Mississippi Mud

with chocolate icing and pecans.

I steal just one nut

and fix the ragged hole with my pinkie.

I turn round and round on the bar chair

kicking my legs

waiting for the family

Sunday dinner to begin.