Deb Brandon: Living in Radiant Color


I read the note, then again, and again. I can’t make sense of it. Every time I catch a glimpse of its meaning, it slips away before I can fully grasp it. I give up—I’ll deal with it tomorrow.
I have to pause to think about the date on the check I am writing. Does the day go before the month, or vice versa? What is the year? Not 2020, that’s the year of expiration of my credit card. Oh yes, 2015. My handwriting is a bit shaky, and larger than usual. Like it used to be during the first few weeks after the brain surgery. Oops, the number of cents wasn’t clear. I’ll make it clear on the next line. That’s a little better, the 5 looks a little less like an 8. Finally, my signature—it’s tiny, and bears little resemblance to my usual signature. Should I void this check and write a new one? I can’t bear the thought of writing another one, it was too hard, and it took too long. It’ll be fine.
My writing on the envelope is big and sloppy, but still legible. But for the life of me, I can’t remember my house number on the return address. No, that’s my zip code. Does it begin with 15 or 13. I take a guess—it doesn’t really matter. And the stamp seems to have a mind of its own. Not there! Over here! We compromise—it’s only a bit crooked.
Stuffing the check into the envelope is tough—the tremors in my hands are bad and I keep missing it. Should I go across the street to pop it into the mailbox? Afraid that I’ll forget to otherwise, I decide to send it off. Walking carefully at a leisurely pace, I make it to my destination. Though I have a little trouble fitting the envelope through the slot, I feel triumphant.

Recovering from spending time with Jonathan and Harriet, my brother and sister-in-law, took a few days. I was beyond exhausted, incapable of making sense of sentences I read, let alone paragraphs, having trouble holding conversations, unable to remember one sentence from the next. I was a disaster.

But I had such a lovely time with Jonathan and Harriet—my difficulties were well worth the trip.

I’m going back there in a couple of months. Not only will I spend time with Jonathan and Harriet, but also with my sister, Rachel, and her family, who will be visiting. And in a month I’m traveling to Colorado for a writing workshop. Then in the winter, I’m off to Israel to visit my family.

I wouldn’t change my plans for the world, for the bloody brain.