I suppose if you manage to live long enough, nothing much will surprise you anymore. Or do we just become more resistant to new revelations?
I think in the past four years I’ve had more surprises than, say, the entire decade before.
Life is full of little sealed boxes that come to us as pretty packaged gifts. We hastily pull off the ribbons and bows, and open the box. And pow! A big surprise of some variety in a little package. How could something so little cause so much commotion?
Being the introvert (hermit) that I obviously am, I often think if I just don’t go out much, don’t turn on the evening news, and answer the phone only after seeing who is calling, I can soften surprises I’m not anxious to learn about.
And then there are the phone calls that never come. I wonder which of the two things is actually worse? Knowing or not knowing?
If only we could see the message written in white letters against the bluest of skies, that would be a “soft” awakening to news you don’t want to hear.
Instead of getting a breathless phone call with: “Oh my God, have you heard the news and are you sitting down?”; whereas you promptly sit down and with trembling hands now clutching the phone, utter…”Um no, I guess not.”
You could find out in a more painless way. The puffy clouds way up high would somehow soften the news.
I hate surprises.
What if? What if? What if?
Merely as an intangible exercise bearing no truth, let’s hypothesize a bit.
Would you be surprised if on this day someone comes to your door and suddenly TV cameras flash in your face, all but blinding you, and you learn you have won the sweepstakes you have long ago forgotten you even entered? Massive surprise.
Is it more conceivable that you get a phone call from a radio station with the message that you have won tickets to a concert? Hm.
Would you be more surprised if say, you always thought something would happen that would cause you to worry about your own…but instead you find yourself worrying about their spouse instead?
Conceivable, but also doubtful. Normally the law of percentages would send the barometer to the other end of the spectrum. Wouldn’t you think?
But should that happen, you find yourself in the unenviable position of not knowing quite what to do. What is the etiquette for such things, you wonder?
So you sit back and do nothing, and stew over it all the while. It is their child, grown or not, I tell myself. Not mine.
I walk outside and look up at the summer sky. It is the light blue that can only be rivaled by bright sunlight fanning out across the ocean. So intense that I shade my eyes.
But there is no white message there for me.
So you do what any woman who is almost beyond surprising would probably do. Go inside and eat something chocolate. And try your best to leave well enough alone, and just live your life.
But that little shadow of doubt lingers in the darkness of your mind. In that shadowy little space where you shove things you can do absolutely nothing about.
Because you are no longer “in the know.” You are no longer privy to the daily minutia of family matters. And perhaps that is for the best. What you don’t know can’t hurt you, right?
But you damned well know it is not yourself you’re stewing about.
I’m still going to go out to stare at the sky just in case a message arrives. Because what if it flashed across the endless span of blue and I wasn’t there to receive it?