I miss the Sunday paper.

I read the paper online, these days, and we don’t have the newspaper delivered any more, and I miss it. I miss it enough that I’m considering signing up for the weekend edition of the New York Times, because I love the book review and theatre sections, despite the fact that we leave nowhere near New York.

Granted, the Sunday Times wouldn’t come with Kohls coupons, or, in fact, any local information, but I love the way the paper feels so much, I don’t think I’d care. I mean, I’d still have the crossword puzzle, right?

Crossword puzzles were meant to be done with pen or pencil on a table in a cafe, or in the living room by a fire, not on the computer. I know there are sites that allow digital crosswords, but the fun in them comes from not being plugged in. From having to rely on your own brain, and using them as a means of engaging strangers in conversation. “Excuse me,” you say to someone who has an interesting hat – a black bowler, perhaps, that reminds you of your Uncle Phil, who really wasn’t a blood relative, but he dated your Aunt Margie for so long he may as well have been. “Can you give me a five-letter word that means ‘comprehensible’?”

And either not-Uncle Phil will shakes his head apologetically, and go along with his own plans, or he’ll smile and suggect, “Lucid.”

And you’ll sip your coffee until it’s gone, even though there are biscotti crumbs in the bottom, and when you get home, you won’t care that your hands smell of newsprint.

Bathtub Mermaid

Scents of lime and coconut, the former from a candle, the latter from a bottle of bubble bath, swirl together to create a heady, steamy cloak that wraps itself around me, warming my skin, and tickling all my senses. The water is nicely hot, the tub brim-full, the book on the edge waiting to be cracked opened and explored.

But I leave the book alone.

I lean back against the bath pillow, sip from the bottle of cool water, and contemplate what it would be like to swim through the ocean at shark-speed, breaching the surface with the joy of a leaping dolphin. I can swim, of course, but as with all humans, it’s a choppy kind of swimming.

Sometimes I dream of floating in a cradle of seaweed, letting the ocean waves rock me to sleep and then stir me softly into wakefulness, hours later, safely back at home. On windy nights, the sound of the trees turns into the sound of the surf in my over-imaginative brain, and almost – ALMOST – I can feel the water rising and receding.

I soak until the water begins to cool, until my fingers are wrinkled and my skin is pink, and then, as in the famous picture of Aphrodite, I rise from the foam, though my foam is leftover coconut bubbles, and not sea spray, and wrap myself, not in pearls, but a soft cotton towel and white cotton chenille slippers. I rinse the tub. I put on fresh pajamas. I go into the kitchen to make orange juice and raisin toast with melted cheddar.

Later, looking for an image to use in a project, I see a vector illustration entitled “bathtub mermaid,” and I think, “That’s me!”