Something must be wrong with me. I spent this morning cleaning, first my bedroom, then my bathroom. I really don't like to clean and always procrastinate, especially on cleaning the bathroom. I stayed up until about 2:00a.m. reading a book that I couldn't wait to continue reading this morning. I even woke up early, 7:15, and started reading it again.
Yet, by 8:30, I had finished my first cup of coffee and decided I needed to clean. My messy bedroom was getting on my nerves, and (I think) the book I was reading, The History of Love, was making me sad. So I spent the morning finishing the cleaning that I had been putting off all week. Earlier in the week, I had cleaned the kitchen and living room and straightened up the dining room, which can never be completely free of mail/printer/work stuff--I don't have a study or work space other than my dining room table. But I kept saying I would do the bedroom and bathroom tomorrow, but I never specified which tomorrow. I guess today was the day though.
As I was cleaning, which included dusting, something I rarely do, I became tearful every time I looked at a photo of my mom and/or my dad. I have a family photo from several Christmases ago that my sister-in-law or my niece copied and framed for each of us. I haven't paid much attention to that photo in a while, but today after I dusted it, I sat on the bed and studied it. My dad was completely dressed and standing with no help, smiling his smile. I don't even remember the last time he looked like that.
I had to resume cleaning to keep from lying on the bed and bawling my eyes out. Then I came across some photos of my mom and I in England many years ago. More tears ensued (and they are falling as I write this too). I actually had already decided to procrastinate on the bathroom, but the feelings of sadness seemed to dissipate only when my brain was occupied with cleaning, so I cleaned the bathroom, even the shower walls and tub, something I rarely do. (Sidenote: Recently, I bought some Easy-Off Bam, and it works really well in the bathroom. If you have a hard to clean tub/shower or haven't cleaned in a while, like me, you should try it.)
I never intended to read The History of Love next. I finished both Case Histories and Runaway at the end of last week. As usual when I finish one book, I have a huge stack of to-read books and even more on a list. It usually takes me a day or two to settle on a new book. I thought I was using from Kite Runner, The Curious Incident of the Dog, and The Penelopiad. I even entertained the idea of reading The Penelopiad while I read one of the two novels.
Then I read a comment on a Bookworld post, and I clicked the name of the commenter and was taken to her blog, A Work in Progress. The most recent blog was about her beginning to read Sophie's Choice. I bought Sophie's Choice a while ago, intending to re-read as soon as possible, but I kept reading new reads instead--my copy of SC is 562 pages and as I have said before I am a slow reader, so you can understand why I hesitated.
After reading this blog post, I decided that SC should be my next read. I read the first chapter, 25 pages, and thought I had made the right choice. Then I spied The History of Love, in the stack on my headboard. I picked it up and began to read. I immediately began to feel an affinity for the first narrator, a lonely old man who "[makes] a point of being seen" because "all [he wants] in not to die on a day when [he] went unseen." How poignant! For some reason I am reminded of a quote from 1984, a quote that I describe as beautifully depressing: "He was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear." Being invisible must be the saddest thing a person can experience.
So I stayed up late last night reading, thinking that I would stop at the end of the next section and go back to Sophie's Choice, but I haven't yet. Now, I have a clean apartment and can get back to reading The History of Love. Hopefully, my sadness has been cleansed from my psyche for today, and only pleasure will accompany further reading.