This week disappears.
I have no real deadlines. A couple of rewrites. Follow-ups. Post-conference crash. Am I tired, sick, or just slow? Slow. The smoke is bad. I go to yoga, meet a friend for yucca fries, solo sheesha date, take Flora shopping, cuddle Ender a lot, I want a time-out, a vacation—I grab a night—Co-op birthday party, yes, I washed the kitchen floor but the stairs are fuzzy, ha ha.
I think the kids are happy this week except when Flora slams the doors or Cinder won’t leave his room.
Sean has a shit day at work—I’m leaving for the night before he comes back, try make it a little better with baked apples and a curry soup.
A friend is stepping back from the world. “I need to take care of myself,” she says. “I don’t protest. “If I don’t, nobody else will.”
I pause, ponder if it’s a request, a cry for help. Is she saying, “Take care of me, a little?”
But healer and caretaker are not my archetypes.
I want to build a world in which you’re taken care of, I whisper. Taking care of your individual needs drains me.
I suppose. Or, realistic.
I rip through two books. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman:
… and I tell everyone I know to read it, best thing I’ve read in years, Sean complies—we argue about it.
and Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley:
so fun, so well-done, and my name shared space with hers in a recent conference promo, so I’m doubly pleased now. She is as good as I remember, I am as honoured.
Today, I might clean the living room. Then again, I might not.
This happens too—a text from a “friend,” while Sean and I are out on a long overdue date, Afghani food, look, they have sheesha (this is a bad idea, already so much smoke in the air because BC is burning), then a stroll through a new-to-us Indian spice mart—we are in heaven, looking up the names of beans (who knew there were so many varieties of mung beans and chickpeas, how, exactly, are they different?)—I don’t buy a kitschy Ganesha statue but I think about it—a text from a “friend.”
Friend. “Friend.” Facebook friend.
I suppose, ultimately, I mean acquaintance.
Friend used to be such a meaningful word. Don’t you think?
I only hear from her when she wants something. This time, she wants to borrow my car.
I’m perversely happy I can’t help. Because, of course, I’d say yes. Resent it.
I had to borrow my neighbours cars for eight months this winter.
I don’t think so.
I don’t only talk to them when I need something.
Today, I want to smoke cigars in the smoke and drink Scotch and Turkish cofee and read Czeslaw Milosz—listen:
by Czesław Miłosz
Love means to learn to look at yourself
The way one looks at distant things
For you are only one thing among many.
And whoever sees that way heals his heart,
Without knowing it, from various ills.
A bird and a tree say to him: Friend.
Then he wants to use himself and things
So that they stand in the glow of ripeness.
It doesn’t matter whether he knows what he serves:
Who serves best doesn’t always understand.
–maybe Jack Gilbert (yes!) and not do very much else.
Perhaps I’ll clean the living room. And sweep the stairs. They are fuzzy.
Sunnyhill Housing Co-op, August 18, 2018
Happy 40th Birthday to Us!
And before you know it, it’s over (Week 33: Fast and Slow)
—->>>POSTCARDS FROM CUBA
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