I finally call my grandmother.
I know, at some level, that asking a 100-year old woman—whose caretaker has had to pretend to be a priest to counteract her romantic obsessions, who saved herself for a marriage that lasted 68 years, who can’t keep the three men in my story at all straight—is not exactly going to give me an answer, but at least it’ll give me something to talk about.
And when her words do come, telling me in one moment to play the field and “date another fella,” and in the next to “figure out the old before you get mixed up with the new,” who keeps saying, “well, what do I know anyway?” and I imagine shrinking a century into my own head, I begin to realize that sometimes wisdom isn’t actually a zeroing in so much as it is a letting go.
So, let’s just back up for a minute. There’s some stuff I’ve left out in the onslaught that was my recent self. A best friend in Bangladesh, for instance, who Skyped the other night from underneath a mosquito net while local men texted her with unsolicited marriage proposals and she told me about the boy with cerebral palsy whose family kept him tied up on a roof, with a cage, because they didn’t know how else to keep him from hurting himself. How she couldn’t go play soccer or out for a run because it was impossibly hot and uncomfortable underneath all the layers of coverings you’re required to wear. And finally, when I think it can’t possibly get any worse, she tells me she can’t buy wine, or any booze at all, because it’s a Muslim country. I hang up with an overwhelming appreciation for America.
Then there’s my window garden, with the snap and sweet peas beginning to train up the sides and all the other little flowers and succulents and greens I potted last week, when I decided it was time to start growing something. Since then the Japanese maple outside has turned a brilliant crimson and the sun has begun setting behind the bridge, bringing with it a light that turns the entire bedroom to gold. I watered again this morning, using a doll’s tea pot I found outside, stopping to reposition the Yogi Tea bag I’d put in the little pot that once held two flowers but now has just one, the tag reading, “Wherever you go, go with all of your heart.”
I can’t help thinking back to Hot Yoga Man, who showed up at that morning class—the one I’d told him about—after all. How when I said hi at the end, he’d hugged me and asked about my plans, blocking the way to the cubby cubes as he volunteered his signature scallop ceviche recipe, specifying things like the need for green pepper corns, and I’d stood, smiling and once again a little bit stunned. How when I left the studio, I looked up at the sky and smiled a thank you.
I pick up the comic book a friend just sent, the one she made after a rough break-up, whose title reads “Bad day? Bad luck? Bad year? Bad vibes?..then it’s time for an Emotional Haz-mat Dance Party for jinx removing and vibes adjustment.”
I flip to the page where she writes, “Energy is also in people, also in bones. Why? We are made from atoms and oceans, fragments of stars.”
Flip the page again.
“You can be…
A. Super Nova, vibrating, expanding, feeling, making…art, open, yes!
B. Black Hole, looping, shrinking, spiraling, collapsing, draining…no no no”
“Remember, the direction of energy is everything.”
I walk the dog. Smile. Go to yoga.
Read more in this series:
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Assistant Editor: Holly Horne / Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: Amelia Speed, Flickr