My basement is flooded again. The landlady sent over a guy yesterday to install a new sump pump but something went wrong and the breaker tripped again and there’s water everywhere. Everywhere that I had already dried out, that is. He’s here again this afternoon, fixing the pump and shop vac-ing the concrete. Again. I’ll still have to go through tonight and move all the boxes to get to hidden water.
When I was a kid we also lived in the flood plain of a river valley. We didn’t have sump pump so just about every spring (and sometimes in the summer) my mom would be sweeping water into the basement floor drain, propping up carpet onto 5 gallon buckets with box fans blowing underneath it and there was the token shop-vac always lying in wait in the corner. It was a way of life. The swish-swishing of the enormous floor broom was as common of a sound as the lawn mower. You’d think it would be an adult chore that I was expecting. I still don’t like it any better now than I did then.
Ella has started talking about her dad again. She’s starting sentences with “When daddy gets home from heaven…” again. She must know how that makes me stop whatever I’m doing to concentrate on her. She’s been quite clingy ever since we arrived in Omaha. She wants on my lap at all hours but wiggles around so much that I make her get off of me. And, when we got home and I was unpacking, I found a picture that she had drawn the day Stephen died. It’s a picture of her and her dad. She doesn’t like the picture because she accidentally drew hair on him and he was bald the last time she saw him. She tried to throw it away but my mom saved it. And I framed it and hung it up in her room near the pictures of her and her dad.
She took it down. And hid it behind the dresser. She hates it. She doesn’t want to look at it. And it breaks my heart. She doesn’t draw anymore. She makes blocks of color scribbles, trying out every color on one page. She calls it a rainbow. She doesn’t draw people anymore. Maybe I’m reading too much into this? Maybe she’s, three? Maybe?
I can only hope that she’s forgotten some of the icky stuff. It’s been almost a year since we began the horrible journey. I’d like to think that that part is over. And maybe it is. But I feel like we, the girls and I, have so much further to go. But something tells me that she hasn’t forgotten. Not yet anyway. I don’t even know what to tell her or what to keep real. Because if I mention him even in passing (“Daddy and I used to eat in that park…”) she brings up the ambulance or the hospital or the funeral home that “planned daddy’s party”.
My heart needs the flooding to stop. Memories. Basement.