Someone who's been in my life for a long, long time pissed me off, and a trial has been playing in my head about that transgression, the wrongness of it, the unfairness of it, with lots of witnesses called and evidence chronicled. For days. Right here in the smack dab middle of the most beautiful spring on record, which I really haven't had the time to appreciate, because this movie playing in my head won't stop.
For so many years now, my study of Life, The Universe and Everything has emphasized forgiveness...for my mistakes, for their mistakes. I'm told the choice is similar to the one of the vase or the face...depending on the way you look at certain picture, you either see a vase or a face, but you can't see both at the same time. Or another familiar picture, the beautiful young woman or the hag. My Life Study says I can choose to forgive or condemn, and I will see Heaven or Hell. Not both and nothing in between.
So for several days, even though I know the choice--and the choice for Heaven has always worked for me in the past--I have felt like hell. I am told if I am willing to forgive, just a little willingness, forgiveness will happen for me. I'm willing to, really I am willing to, but I haven't been wanting to. Is there a difference between willing and wanting?
And while I was willing and not wanting, I have tried to reason why I couldn't let go of my anger. And grief. Yes, grief, over such a little, really, insignificant thing.
Now understand the transgression is not great, other than that psychic chasm that's formed in my brain, the one where I landed in hell, and can't even imagine what heaven would be like. And the other person, she didn't mean to piss me off, and she doesn't even understand why it's a big deal to me, and she refuses to even acknowledge it happened. But if she ran over my foot with her car, even if she hadn't meant to, still my foot would hurting, and a discussion wouldn't be out of order. Or would it? Or at least a discussion about this particular point, since there was no physical damage, and any sane adult would just let the matter drop. Right?
So here's the reason I've come up with to justify these past few days: I again feel like this relationship is one of those where it's all about the other person. The two of us is all about her, which leaves me feeling like a hungry ghost, either giving in and giving all and not receiving anything, just so we can be all warm and fuzzy about her, tomorrow, on her time, on her terms.
For now, all I can do is wait and be willing to see a different point of view. At least today, after five days, the activity in my frontal lobes that feels like a raging storm has subsided, and I can at least contemplate there may be a heaven, even if the idea of what it might look like still leaves a blank for me.
And what is love, anyway? Today Poets.org has posted a poem that doesn't give me any answers, but does examine the question for me. And maybe today I can appreciate this glorious spring instead of playing my mind movie, and some time soon, maybe I'll be able to catch a glimpse of Heaven.
There were only two sets of us, us and the two women who sat down and ordered the fishbowl drinks. The woman facing us immediately picked up her cell phone and began talking to her daughter, Bad ex-Boyfriend did WHAT! and he didn’t need to do that and tell him your mother will get a restraining order and make sure it was carried out until the day she died, yadda yadda yadda yadda, and more yadda yadda yadda yadda, put Honey on the line, Honey, Darlin’ has been having a rough time with her daddy and all and she doesn’t need this, and it's so bad I'm out having magaritas and Bad ex-Boyfriend is everywhere she goes, he doesn’t want to date just to be friends and how is she going to meet other boys if he’s always around and she doesn’t need that she’s having such a hard time with what her father did she was so broken up she almost couldn’t walk down the aisle and could Dante just call up a few people and get her together with some people she could make friends with she doesn’t have friends here and if Dante did that Mom would make a donation to the organization and yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda.
When I wondered idle thoughts about did she really want that much of her business all over the Mexican restaurant, her companion turned and looked in our direction, but I was mostly looking at my husband, at least I hoped I wasn’t gawking because that conversation was a magnetic as t.v.
Thanks and expect a donation to the organization, Darlin’ really needs this, Momma said and put down the phone.
For two seconds.
Same phone call, or a different one, my husband asked as the yadda yadda yadda when she told me I almost cried yadda yadda yadda went on. And on. And on.
If I were with her, I would knock that phone out of her hand, my husband said.
But her brain might fall over and she might never recover, I said, she might not know how to talk without the phone, and at least with the phone her friend and the rest of us are getting the real poop.
Momma was still talking on her little phone when we left. I glanced at the companion as we walked by, and when we got back to the truck, I was able to reassure my husband. Don’t worry about the friend, I said, she was sitting there text messaging.
My Baboo of the Comfy Chair had a class in the Big City 100 miles north. The Big Bad City, second-mostly-deadly-in-the-U.S. A class in the heart of the car-jacking hood, only a couple of blocks away from the once-pride-of-the-south mall that's now empty except when they dump the bodies there. A two-day class in a city on a stretch of interstate filled with truckers on speed. In fact, he saw two Big! Burning! trucks on his way home the first night.
Baboo of the Comfy Chair is not a road warrior.
I could have changed bed linens while he was gone, welcoming him home to fresh, clean sheets. I did not. What if the unthinkable happened? What if he......I needed those sheets while he was gone. I needed the smell of them. Plenty of time for clean sheets in the long rest of our lives.
I'm a book addict, which means I buy books, mostly second-hand books. There is an old saying, owning a book means you never have to read it. Because there's always later, you know. And that's proven true with me. I have books that have been on my shelves unread for years, so long my books are catching book cooties from one another, those ugly age spots, mold, spores, somethings, that splatter the pages of books. But time is passing faster, and I'm rapidly leaving, if it's not happened already, middle age. I can't even contemplate dying, because my magpie ways will leave horror for my children to clean out, and this is just the way my mind works, but the time has come, as the walrus and everything, and it's time to lighten the load. I've ditched boxes of books already, whose time has come and gone, but I still have boxes and boxes of books I want to read. So I am. And because life is always so much more if you share it, I'm telling you about it. Just telling you, you don't have to listen. But if I review a book, and you like it, when I'm finished with it, I'll draw names (if there's more than one of you) and send it to the winner. I'll tell if it has book cooties. Or you could just check it out from your neighborhood free book store (that's a library, folks), if you can't wait.
My friend Keetha finishes every book she starts, no matter whether she likes it or no. But I gotta tell you, as a young friend of mine said about phone calls from her sister, I just don't have that kind of time to invest. Still I will tell you about the ones I pitched back, too, because that's what blogs are all about, about how imperative our ways of thinking are. Sorry to the probably very good authors I must part ways with. So here are two of the most recent:
DeceptionDenise Mina...a story about a serial killer. As one reader said, "well-worth the 'sticking out'. " I'm done with the 'sticking-out' reads, especially about serial killers and the cutting out of tongues.
Sarah Conley Ellen Gilchrist...another of Ellen's stories about an aging, rich, white woman with problems. The cover girl looked like my niece, so I was disposed to be kindly toward it. It had a this happened, then this happened, then this happened quality about it that I found off-putting, but I happened to pick up Hemmingway's Islands in the Stream waiting to be read and checked out a brief passage, and it read the same way, this, then this, then this, so what do I know? I made it about a third of the way through when I felt the overwhelming urge to flip to the back to see how it turns out because I wanted to be done with it. A sure sign for me to quit the book. I didn't flip to the back, because frankly, my dear, I didn't give a damn.
Today's keeper is The Dark RoomRachel Seiffert, one of those beautiful reads with something to say. I'm on my second go-round. I'll let you know when I'm ready to ship it off.
Like who needs another cooking blog, but my family has had a cook book since 1979, and this year, after our every-other-year reunion, we've made it to the net. Folks still bring home cooked food to this three-day event, and I'm telling you, we sent home, uncut, a beautiful bakery carrot cake. It counted as home cooked, because a cousin owned the bakery. So, if you want to just check out the eclectic offering, drop by occasionally. I'm having to flog those guys to giving up the recipes, but I'm lazy, and I can sit in front of the computer and drink coffee while I hound them, so we'll get new recipes up on a fairly regular basis.
I keep trying to make Potatoes Anna. Since I’ve never had them cooked by someone who knows what she’s doing, I’m not sure what they are supposed to taste like, a little potato cake, I think, creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside, but I don’t think I’m there yet, maybe it has something to do with the starchiness of the potato. Yesterday when I turned the potatoes out of the pan, a heck of a lot of butter pooled in the plate. I poured that off.
Are these are too greasy for you? I asked the in-house diner.
This is the South, he reminded me. ‘Too’ is never used preceding greasy, but sometimes ‘enough’ can follow it, as in “Is this greasy enough for you?”
P.S. from Keetha’s Delta Dish on fried and fish and festival:
Besides the people watching, the Festival was also about the food. Jeffrey, my dad, and I ate lunch together, which was, of course, FRIED CATFISH. It pains me to say that the catfish was . . . okay. hushpuppies were a disappointment, although the french fries were perfect crinkle cuts with the right ratio of crisp to greasy. Leaving the festival (which, in our defense, was hours and much walking later) we got a funnel cake. YES WE DID. It was good – light (as light as fried pastry thickly covered with powdered sugar can be) and not greasy. We ate every bite; I have the picture of the empty powdered-sugar-crumb-laden paper plate to prove it.
Go ahead, write the woman and ask her to put you on her mailing list. She's all about food and writing.
I’ve told you this before, but just so you’ll know about the dogs: Sugar was three weeks old when she came from the pound, dropped in a barrel by the door during a thunderstorm. Other than thunder, she’s afraid of nothing, and has always been sure of her place in the world, and her right to mail carriers, delivery vans, and my neighbor’s shoes while she’s wearing them. Once she bucked loose from me and jumped one of the two dogs another neighbor was walking. The neighbor, being a nice man, did not kick her head in. He hung her with her own leash. When she was calm, he sat her down. She shook her head, took stock of the situation, grinned and jumped the second dog. Understand, no teeth touched flesh, just a lot of air-gnashing and hair pulling.
Spunky? Though she and Sugar are the same age, Spunky arrived, also from the pound, over two years later, anorexic, trembling, with a mouthful of rotten teeth and her heart riddled with worms. “Daddy, daddy,” a child said, “look at this dog, she’s so skinny, she looks like a toy dog, but she’s a real dog, ain’t she cute?” It’s taken ten years of coddling for Spunky to come into her own.
Several months ago the girls got into a beech fight. Because my husband picked Sugar up and moved her out of the fray, both dogs thought Spunky won. She became Alpha Princess, bossing Sugar around with a toothless snarl, while we prophesized one day Sugar would get tired of it and take her down. Sunday was the day. My husband was giving them pieces of jerky treat, when Sugar got too close and TOUCHED SPUNKY’S BACK. Spunky whipped around to gum Sugar to death and Sugar knocked Spunky down, pinning her on her back between the couch and the chair. It looked as if blood would flow, maybe from Spunky having her throat ripped open. I was the mobile one, and I jerked Sugar up and away. Even though Sugar had again been the dog removed, nobody thought Spunky won.
Spunky got up and fled, first walking pretty steadily, but by the time she reached the living room, limping as if her leg were broken. I inspected. No blood, no pain, but her leg was very wet, as if Sugar had slobbered all over it. I picked the poor princess up, carried her to the couch, and tried to love her back to health. It must have worked, because by the time the leg had dried, Spunky was walking with no limp. “She just wanted us to know what Sugar had done,” my husband said.
Still, whenever Sugar passed by the couch where Spunky usually sits, Spunky would snarl that toothless snarl, and wave a limp paw, just so, you know, Sugar would fully understand how badly she had behaved. Not that Sugar cared, but you always gotta tell on them first.