Well, at least it wasn’t freezing cold. I had to wonder if, during the winter, maybe I had hybernated or something. Most of those really cold months, well it was right after Edna had died. I had to start the Diner up again, solo, all the while bleeding inside myself. It was just excruciating. So, maybe it was a good thing that a lot of my attention during those cold winter months went into working on ways to absolutely not freeze to death. Like I said, I don’t like cold. But, as the weather started to warm up… I had been pushing a whole pile of stuff away to maybe arm’s length since Edna died, since I painfully took over her part of doing the Diner. And, as I noted, I was soon able to manage myself as I talked to customers; took orders, delivered food, apologized for too many mess-ups… But again, very quickly after I turned away to do whatever, I was usually on the verge of tears. And now, without the frigid cold to worry about, that whole battle felt far more painful.

I had developed a good friendship with Delores and her family over christmas, and Delores continued to drift in and out of my life. She was a good friend. She knew Edna too, and maybe Delores’ care for me may have been for Edna too, I don’t know. But little things like that maybe helped me keep my sanity. Maybe that kept me from giving up on what Edna wanted me to do (keep the Diner alive). Delores came to the Diner a few times a week, and occasionally brought her younger daughter Tina too, weather and soccer practice allowing. I knew firsthand that Delores is a good cook. But, she comes here to relax. I am pretty sure I understand that cooking is a lot of work. And Delores’ older daughter Kacey got me started on my own journal. I know, I am using Ed’s old dinosaur ‘xt’ computer, but it works for me. See, I can read this, well if I want to. Besides, nobody else will ever read this, ever even want to read this. The actual capturing of… Well, the process is why I do this, even if the net result often seems the same. I don’t know, I just felt the need to record…

(I picked this up a while later…)

After starting with a bang, the month of april… Well, the days, the weeks seemed to just slowly crawl by. I was still almost constantly working hard to keep a bunch of pain pushed semi-comfortably (I laughed at that, which hurt) well barely tolerably away. I was still constantly on the lookout for salesmorons and their varied attempts to defraud me of (steal) what nobody could ever give back, and for the slightest of motivations on their part. I was confident none of these slime would stay around me more than 8 hours after robbing me, and even that was pushing it. I was pretty sure, if I let that happen, they would never talk to me again (until the next time they wanted…), then they would get up early the next morning and leave, leaving me with… nothing… more pain… and who knows what else… I didn’t want any of that. I kept as far away from their kind as I could. I think, as april oozed slowly by, I was having problems even being civil with them. One even told me point blank “Chill out, Maude. It is not like I want to steal your family fortune…” Indeed…

But, I could feel the hardening begin… As it got warm, my mental reserves began to slowly erode… I felt like I really was turning into a zombie. Holding so much at arm’s length, having to be constantly wary of the piranha infested waters around me, carrying the heavy load to even allow the Diner to function, and then doing all the cleaning on top of that. I ended each day absolutely exhausted, that never changed. I might take a very quick, freezing cold shower, and get clean clothes on. Then I would collapsed into troubled sleep. When the sun rose, I would do it all again. Well, sundays the Diner was closed. Through the winter and spring, I worked a lot on my journal on sundays. I really enjoyed that, and felt driven maybe to do it as well. But I could just feel… Even that fun task was being slowly sapped away… I went a few weeks in april without making a single entry. There was just nothing to say that I hadn’t already said. And, I guess I increasingly found myself asking why, when nobody besides me… And, honestly, I wasn’t sure I even wanted the reminder any more. Well, what happened that first day of April, I wanted for weeks to record that. But when sunday rolled around… I couldn’t even convince myself to do anything except sleep or cry quietly on the front porch (usually both). And, when I finally did get to that, to my journal, I realized I had turned the computer, everything off weeks ago. It took an hour to remember (read) how to get everything up and running again, to where I could even do a journal entry. It had been so long, I started on a new chunk of journal. I have no clue why. That last sunday in april, I did the first journal for this next set, which was from weeks ago. That terrible day was april 1st. Then I started on this journal entry, well, finishing it. After saving this second journal entry, I turned everything off, and just sat there. “Why am I even doing this…” I said to myself.

I had to slap a salesmoron or two over the course of April; they touched me where they should not have. They probably knew I was overwhelmed, and wanted to see if they could get away with that. Nope. And the big walk-in freezer quit, which was REALLY a problem. I think the cook realized I had absolutely no idea how to handle that. He asked the guy at the hardware store, then had a service company come out and fix it. It took a few days to actually get it going again, with ordering parts and stuff. And we did lose a lot of perfectly good food. Of course, I was the one who had to explain to customers that, what they wanted, what they had their heart set on when they walked in our door, well they couldn’t have that, because our freezer was on the fritz. That was just not fun. A number of travelers just got up and left without saying a word. There was nothing I could do… except feel bad; I did plenty of that. We offered free sodas, but still…

Maybe it was slowly getting hotter, outside. Maybe I could blame this whole zombification on that. I don’t know, the heat just seems to turn me into a zombie. It tries to dull my senses some… Well, heat just takes it’s toll, wet or dry. I really can tell that my whole thinking seems to slow way down as the outside, inside temperature starts to climb above maybe 80 degrees. Well, that was april, towards the end anyway. I don’t think that the hotter weather was the real problem, but it didn’t help. It did however, add one more, very complex task to my already full plate. I absolutely had to keep the fans, the windows, the shades all set exactly perfect, or the cooking smoke would ruin everyone’s day. Even more frustrating, some days we didn’t need this, and other days we did. I just had no clue how to do this any more. It seemed like, the last week of april, everything I tried with those fans and stuff, it was always wrong. The next day, I would leave everything off, then find out painfully that we needed every last fan, all the windows… I just didn’t know what to do… Everything I tried was wrong… I know some people left because of that too.

So, yes… Operation zombie, complete…


1. Maude: Meanderings is copyright 2017 by Shysage.




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