Swimming at the Hampshire pool with Aviva and Pearl. V asking me if we could do “dolphin,” and all of us floating with little foam wings snapped around our waists. Hearing her say, “This is really nice, actually.” Warming up in the sauna together, and Pearlie asking me how much hair a person can have on their body. Glimpses into her mind. The excitement of snacks from the vending machine. The irresistibility, for me, of climbing. Pearlie snapping my picture.
Mani waking up today and feeling lighter, better. Trusting that each good day is a reinforcement of healing.
Pearl’s Cockney accent. How she asked who David Bowie was when I handed her the “Changes” CD to use as a straight edge for her math homework when we couldn’t find a ruler. Telling her that yes, he is still alive, and guess what? Today (yesterday, now) is his birthday, and why do I know these things? Because I loved him. Like you had posters all over your room? Yes, like that. Carrying her upside down to her room.
Sharing an online space for two weeks this month with twelve women whose willingness to write, to share, to practice, and to take risks is teaching me so much. Unlocking and awakening something in me that needs attention, that has so much to give, that does not want to be stifled or shut down. The gratitude I feel, that I get to do this. They people have chosen to spend time and money to play together in this way, with me. Wow.
Looking out the window at a morning snowstorm. Marveling at the fact that deep beneath the frozen ground lie dormant wildflowers and crocus bulbs and complex root systems. How knowing this clears away the need to control things.
My brand-new-to-me vintage Royal typewriter. It’s green. Mani gave it to me for my 41st birthday, which is next Wednesday. The way she pays attention. The way she loves me not even, but especially, on my hardest days.
Compassion. For the one who cries at the drop of a hat. For the one I don’t even know whose daughter is in intensive care. For the one who slid off the road this morning. For the one who is afraid of judgment. For the one who feels like her life is happening to her. For the one who has to feel worse before she feels better. For the one who hides. For the one who waits for the next sign of being good enough.
Five things in the car every morning. We take turns. Drive past the open field, no sun today, just snow and bluster, turning my eyes to the east. And at the end of the day, looking west. Bookends, holding together what would spin into chaos without the beginning and the end.
The first-year student I met with this morning, who said that all the white outside is like a blank canvas. How she was wearing Doc Martens with neon pink, green, and yellow shoelaces, and a black turtleneck with horizontal white stripes, her bleached hair growing out at the roots and pulled up into two little curly ponytails on either side of her head, and her sweater a riot of colors, and how somehow all of this mismatch and brightness made me happy.
The news that the cancer is slow-growing, and they can take a vacation and get some rest and sun before the surgery.
Expecting a letter from Mexico. Looking forward to getting mail that isn’t a bill or a random catalog. Handwritten.
The way Pearl stopped fussing about what I had made for dinner on Wednesday, after I told her I’d stayed up till 10:30 the night before cooking. Not to make her feel guilty, but to be honest, to show her that there is effort and care behind things. How she apologized then, and sat down to eat, even if it was too spicy and not her favorite thing.
Aviva startling me in the kitchen while I was doing dishes. And suddenly not an inch shorter than me, her cheeks still rosy from sleep. Sipping coffee. “Tween” may not be a real word, but being in-between is definitely a real state, new to us both. Remembering to be patient. Popping into her room-cave to say hi without having to point out a single thing she could or should do. It smells like old socks! Hang up your towels!
How watching “Breaking Bad” has led to the most awesome and absurd texts between me, Mani, and my oldest sister. A week in the life, yo.
So many moments, more of them happy than I realized until I started writing today. Which is exactly why I keep showing up.
I’m grateful. And wishing you all Shabbat Shalom.