In my effort to make sense of my life I often think, "If that tragic event hadn't happened, then that happy one would not have followed," or, "If I had decided to go to bed early that night instead of . . . I would never have had the chance to..."
I am not a Seeker of Wisdom. I just live and wait for it to come upon me.
In the last few weeks I have felt events being taken up, gathered up like the mouth of a drawstring purse.
Nearly a year ago I found myself in a position where I would either lose my full time job or work part time for a woman, a thing I had sworn I never again would do. The first six (and more) months were rough on my nerves and I was lonely, with a boss in the person where a friend had previously resided.
Yesterday, the following conversation:
I: My old boss, Bella, told me a year ago, that blahblahblah...
Jane: Bella! I thought you didn't like her.
I: Well . . . with time and distance, I have seen that her insecurities and my insecurities went head to head and created a . . . volatile situation.
Jane smiled and nodded.
I: Here's a Bella Story. One night we were finally at the point of faxing a letter. Bella had revised it her usual seventy-five times, we'd looked it all over and it was finally perfect. It was late. Everybody else in the whole office wing had left. It was just the two of us sweating over this letter.
It was winter, I had missed my bus, I was going to have to wait at least another forty-five minutes for the next one.
So we faxed the letter.
We watched it go through the fax machine. I picked it up from its face-down position and we simultaneously saw that the letter was dated yesterday. Bella threw up her hands, half-turned away, and exploded, "Unngghh! I don't want them to think we're so stupid that we don't even know what day it is."
And I was thinking: What does it matter!
I redated the letter and faxed it again.
The next morning I couldn't speak to her. I could barely even look at her. I had had enough. After a while, Lou asked me if she had done something to make me mad. I said, "Bella, I am not stupid."
Horrified, Bella said, "I would never say you were stupid!"
It was all her: She had never meant any insult to me. She hadn't even realized what she was saying. And I was so nervous and jerky that I, of course, immediately had taken offense.
In the middle of my story, I realized that the Bella story was identical to stories I could tell about some events in recent months.
Jane realized it too. I could see it in her eyes.
We had been having a pretty nice morning already, but after that conversation, there was an ease in the air . . . an atmosphere of friendship and understanding and forgiveness.
I have my friend back and so does Jane.
R.D. and his wife M. were artists and sculptors, and our neighbors in that ancestral farm home to which I've referred previously. R.D. taught six-year-old June how to make a picture with Elmer's Glue, let it dry and then roll paint over paper placed on top of the hardened glue.
I remember M. smiling, holding my small hands, and exclaiming, "Look at those artist's thumbs!"
When my mother was a young woman she sat as model for R.D.'s sculpture class.
I have a long emotional history with the black-painted plaster head created by and given to my mother by one of the students. When I was very young there were long periods of time that my mother was not available to me. I remember weeping, cheek pressed to that black plaster cheek, wishing that enough longing might make enough magic to bring my mother home. The sculpture sits now where I can see it all my waking hours. It is a little chipped from having rolled around in my sister's truckbed for two weeks following my mother's funeral, where it had stood on a side table. One evening a few weeks ago I spent a half hour gazing at the head and remembering the Ds, their son, his widow, their daughter,
her husband. R. and M. died long ago, shortly after we left that place. Almost fifty years ago and more than fifty miles away.
A few days later I was on my way to attend an arty thing and saw neighbor Bob. In our conversation, Bob mentioned an artist he knew.
"Wait: What did you say his name is?"
Bob repeated the artist's name, the name of the man who'd married the Ds' daughter.
"What does he look like?"
Bob described the man.
"I know him! He was married to our neighbor's daughter!"
I do not expect to meet the man again and he would not remember me if I did. I barely existed for him even when he knew my family. Hearing his name, though, at just that time, so shortly after my contemplation of The Head and those younger days,
I felt myself caught in a wave curl of time.
When I began this blog I was in a state of feeling overtaken by a creative urge. I thought of late 2008- early 2009 as My Year Of Creativity.
I'm taking this juxtaposition of time and memory and events to be A Sign that My Year continues.