Contracts signed, contracts voided. That is one of the things we sing and pray about on Yom Kippur–not only for the year that will close at sundown tonight, but in advance, knowing full well that in the year to come we will make mistakes, and asking preemptively for forgiveness for our blunders as humans. At best, we really are doing our best, and not just using that as an excuse.
Last night, I blew kisses and exchanged a gazillion “love you’s” with the girls out the car windows; they were ahead of me with Greg, on their way to dinner at Grandma’s, and I was on my way to the Intervale to go running on the dirt path there, the one that snakes through half a dozen small farms and community gardens. I drove right past the synagogue on my way, glancing at the security guards, presumably there to protect my people’s right to worship safely on this, the holiest night of the Jewish year. I nodded in recognition at a familiar-looking woman crossing the street, her dress and heels to my sweatshirt and sneakers, Bobo in the passenger seat beside me.
The day had begun at the courthouse, where Greg and I updated motions to waive the six-month waiting period and final hearing, then wrote notes back and forth to each other during the required four-hour-long “Coping with Separation and Divorce” parenting class. There were calls to and from the electrician who is helping me resolve an old mechanical permit in the basement that wasn’t closed properly three years ago. There were conversations with realtors. Accountants. Attorneys. A last-minute stop to buy a little something special to wear for Mani’s birthday Friday night in Phoenix. Bumping into just the right people to say goodbye to. Aviva writing thank-you notes from her early bowling-alley birthday party last weekend. Pearlie’s new haircut–be still my heart. Skyping with the principal of their new school about unisex bathrooms.
In short, I had considered attending the Kol Nidre service last night, and at 6:00pm, decided instead to greet the holiday with fresh air and sweat. I snapped a picture with my phone near the parking area at the Intervale around 6:10, thinking to myself, “Tonight, this is my temple.” In fact, I took several pictures during my run; even though I felt safe down there, it had occurred to me to bring my phone, and there was that pang of reassurance as I waved hello to a handful of fellow runners along the way. I was out for about twenty-five minutes.
Walking back to my car, I noticed my sweatshirt was hanging halfway out the window. In the time it took me to think, “That’s weird… I didn’t leave the windows down,” I circled around the passenger side and registered the fact that the window had been smashed in. Glass everywhere. That weird slow-motion effect of taking in the scene (it reminds me of this absolutely fascinating interview I heard recently heard on NPR–worth a listen). And then realizing my purse had been sitting there along with my sweatshirt. Quickly cataloging the contents of my purse. And then bursting into the last-straw tears of incredulity.
Corporal Bonnie Beck came to take a report, just in case any of my stuff turns up. No doubt the perpetrators were in it for the cash, which was minimal; I have a brand-new big-ass to-do list today, Yom Kippur notwithstanding, of calls to make, cards to cancel and replace, and car windows to repair. And in eight days, a moving truck will come. My house will be empty and God willing, ready for a buyer to make it his or her own.
As I soaked in a hot bath before bed last night feeling leveled, I was aware of the temptation to read meaning into things. If there is meaning, all I can think of is that this is one of those proverbial “what really matters” moments. I was not bruised–or worse. My car was attacked, not my body. My marriage is over, not my friendship with Greg. My children are resilient, not broken. Life really does goes on. Until it doesn’t.