It’s Sunday and I’ve no plans but to lie still and regroup. Will I?
Flora: It’s impossible for you not to have a project.
True. But let’s call Sunday’s project… rest.
On Saturday, I worked very hard and you didn’t come, and I was… disappointed.
I guess that’s all I’ll say. And practice letting go of the outcome some more.
Find your dharma. Do it all out. Let go of the fruits of your actions.
“Do it all out,” I’ve got that down. Really. “Do it all out,” even when nobody’s watching, nobody cares, nobody comes.
On Saturday, I worked very hard, and you didn’t come and I felt very sorry for myself in the evening and cried.
Walk. Beer. Love. Sex.
Sean: I will take care of you.
True story: both my ultimate fantasy and biggest fear.
On Friday, I was a superstar. Everyone came. (Not you. Strangers. Why is it easier to please strangers?). They loved me. I was exhausted. But also high.
Wine Bar. A beautiful woman. The snow and air crunched as she walked me home after midnight.
Yes. It was a good day.
Every day there was math. Daddy, help!
On Thursday, I worked very hard. A meeting. Another. A moment of joy, captured by a friend’s camera:
(I must remind myself of this moment on Saturday. But I forget it, until Sunday.)
On Wednesday, I wrote and everything was right with the world.
Tuesday. Words. Deleting more than adding. Necessary. Email. Confirmation. Volley. Dodge. Return.
I fucking hate being busy—this needs to stop.
Meeting. Learning. There is a purpose to all of this, right? There is a method to this madness?
Monday. The family that goes on a frigid winter walk together… swears and suffers together.
Jane: Should we just let them have stayed home and played video games?
Sean: No. I’m pretty sure this is good for them. Us.
Cinder: I’m bored. Can I go home now?
Flora: I’m cold. Can I run ahead home?
Ender: I’m hungry!
On the plus side… there was no plus side. It was -100 degrees out.
In the morning, before the walk—I wrote. I said I’d start writing on Monday, and I did. 3500 new shiny words. Well, 4700. But I knew 2200 of them were garbage as soon as my fingers stopped moving.
I wrote before I read that email.
Do it all out. Let go of the outcome.
She’s showing me her husband’s texts. They’re lacking capitals. And periods.
She’s interpreting this as disrespectful. Lazy.
Worse, proof that he doesn’t love her or, in some perverse way, is now undeserving of her love.
I don’t know what to do with this situation.
There’s a part of me that wants to slap her or drop a bucket of cold water of her head. “It’s texting. Maybe he’s driving. Maybe he’s—imagine this—busy at work. It’s punctuation. Who the fuck cares?”
(I’m a writer. I don’t care. It’s texting. My texts are riddled with errors and omissions; his, her, your texts to me ditto. I don’t care. Unless you’re mean. I care then.)
Then there’s the part of me that knows it’s not about the missing periods and the lower case i.
She thinks he doesn’t love her. She’s worried she doesn’t love him. And she’s terrified. Fixating on the texts—the socks left on the floor of the bathroom—that he forgot to salt the mashed potatoes—that’s all easier.
I don’t know what to do with that either.
“What do you think he says to his friends when he complains about you?” I ask. “Do you think he shows them your texts?”
Ah, fuck. Wrong thing to say. Why did I say that?
When she gets up to leave, I’m pretty sure I’ll never see her again. Well. Maybe a year or two after the divorce. I realize—I know—she came to me to get something. Help? Perspective? Advice?
No. Understanding, compassion, an acknowledgement that it was ok to be pissed off about those missing periods.
I failed to deliver.
But she texts me a few hours late.
“Thank you for the coffee. I appreciate your time.”
Periods. Capital i.
I text back:
Yes, I skip the period on purpose.
Yes, I’m a bitch.
Yes, I think about typing “your” instead of “you’re” but I can’t make myself do it.
It’s Sunday. No math today, thank god. He’s going to do science.
Journal: “I’m not spending enough time with Ender. I’m not giving Flora enough attention. The house is a pigsty, and how many days in a row can I feed them frozen pierogies, imperfectly fried, before someone complains?”
(Sean makes steaks on Saturday and pork ribs on Sunday—I think that means I get one more week of pierogies.)
I don’t feel guilty about not giving enough to Cinder, though. The math time I’m putting in… Yeah.
Every time I help Cinder with his math though… I think about privilege.
Privileged people don’t understand privilege.
Cinder is so fucking privileged.
Think about it. Just in the context of the math.
He’s got two parents. With too many graduate degrees between them. Both of whom can sit down with him and give him the time and support he’s not getting from the textbook (which is shit) and the school (no comment). One of whom is home a lot, and has a sufficiently flexible schedule so that she can be there for the homework, the tests, the tears.
He has a grandfather. Also overeducated and NOT an artist and humanist—so he remembers high school math. Knows how to explain it. And has the time—and the love—to travel halfway across the city once or twice a week to help Cinder where I can’t.
On the days when we struggle with the sines and cosines and convergent and divergent equations and infinite series—and I don’t even want to look ahead in the book to see what’s next—I bring myself back to tranquility by thinking—We are so lucky.
So fucking privileged.
Today, I am extra lucky. It’s Sunday. No math.
It’s Sunday and I’m wrapped in pillows and blankets, pens and pencils around me. I will write, maybe draw. Read? I don’ t know. Tired eyes.
I’m not so disappointed anymore. I mean—I am. I wanted you to come. To see what I do. To be excited about it with me, for me. But it’s ok. I’m not resentful (anymore—I was, on Saturday).
I accept that I don’t do what I do for you. I accept that what I do just isn’t that important or interesting to you. It’s a little challenging to not think that therefore I’m just not that important and interesting to you.
I’ll work on NOT thinking that. I know it’s not true.
Small, petty feelings.
They will pass.
My “tired” fuels them.
When I am full, there is no room in me for those small, petty feelings.
Tomorrow, another Monday.
And I’ll be… next week, I won’t be busy.
I will think. Breathe. Play.
It will be good.
—->>>POSTCARDS FROM CUBA