30.10.09

Off the runners

There are weeks when, even before you arrive, I feel the universe click into place and I know everything will go smoothly. We will be in step, like professional dancers or chess masters. Each subtle shift you make, every variation I try, is accommodated for and incorporated into our flawless but dynamic duet. We dip into each other.

This was not one of those weeks.

This was the kind of week when some grease drips in the oven and fills the kitchen with smoke. When everyone brings salad to the potluck. When I spend twenty minutes waiting for you while you stand on the porch, fuming and pressing the broken doorbell.

So we look at each other and shrug, because what else can we do? We both know the other one meant well. Our relationship is stronger than these minor debacles.

We’ll try for better next week.

23.10.09

Too far

I lit every candle in the house, hours before sunset. You probably felt like I was holding my finger down on your doorbell, or yelling up at you from the courtyard. I don’t know if you thought it was endearing and cute or really f-ing annoying.

It’s hard to tell with you sometimes, and I don’t always think it’s fair. You demand so much of me that I sometimes wonder if I’m losing myself in you, but if I do lose track of me in the day-long spans of you, then there you are shaking your head and muttering that I don’t get it at all. But the second I do something you don’t like, you let me know. Boy, do you ever let me know.

If I tried too hard this time, then I hope you don’t mind. I just wanted to make you smile.

16.10.09

Quiet spaces

Shabbat loves the quiet spaces, you know.

Sure, you expect to see him in big, boisterous rooms filled with laugher and singing, sitting at tables warping under the weight of good food, writing guest lists a mile long that keep growing with every somebody who looks a little lonely on the way home.

But Shabbat also likes the quiet spaces.

He likes big, yawning chambers, with maybe two or three people talking earnestly in the corner. He likes simple companionship, the silence between good friends. Shabbat values quality above quantity. He would rather have all your dreams than everyone’s favorite movies.

When you see him laughing in a crowded room, you might notice that he’s not always all there. He likes the bluster and the mirth—

But he loves the quiet spaces.

9.10.09

Memory lane

Shabbat plopped down beside me on the couch, holding an open photo album. He pointed to a picture of the two of us sitting together on a park bench. “Remember our first date?” he asked.

“‘First date’?” I snatched the album away and flipped back a few pages. “We’d been going out for almost a year by then.”

“Were we? You weren’t that into me in the beginning,” Shabbat said frankly. “You were always ditching me for anyone more interesting. Not taking me seriously.”

“Well, you were really high-maintenance. Not to mention freakishly commitment-oriented.”

“So I have high expectations. I’m not so hard to live with, am I?”

Before I could really get the fight going, I noticed a picture of one of our more sublime evenings. “You’re an acquired taste,” I conceded. And quietly enough that he wouldn’t hear, “Acquired and addictive.”

2.10.09

Garden fantasy

After a long afternoon of reading stories with the kids, I started to imagine Shabbat visiting the community that crawls and slithers around my garden. When evening sets in, the earthworms stop working the soil just long enough to poke their heads aboveground. The more refined cicadas climb out of their drab weekday dress for the occasion. The ladybugs gather, catching up on local news and munching aphids while they wait.

And then Shabbat arrives on nimble feet, a tiny Thumbelina in a cottonwood gown. Or maybe she’s a frog princess, vivid in yellow and red.

The spiders have covered the meeting space with a latticework of webbing that drips with flower petals, plump flies and other tasty treats. When Shabbat looks up through the impermanent ceiling she might see fireflies blinking in and out in time to the cricket philharmonic.