Yesterday was a productive day as I continued packing and occasionally checking in on Facebook. There was a good debate going on among people I don’t know, regarding the Senate finance committee’s rejection of the public option. I enjoyed reading their comments as I sorted through old boxes of tax records. (Later on, I watched the Daily Show and continued to be amazed at how ineffectual the Democrats are in governing with a majority of votes in Congress. You’d think it was 1994 when the Republicans took over both houses and Newt Gingrinch was in charge. It’s so depressing really – what is wrong with them??)
Anyway, in the late afternoon I went to a meeting of freelance people and we talked about work. After the meeting, a friend of mine said to me, “Wow, you look fantastic! Radiant.” A couple of months ago, my friend Mia told me,”Tragedy becomes you.”
Maybe it’s the release of so many emotions and the stress that taking care of my mother has been on me for so many years. I appreciated the compliment and I was in a good mood. A friend of mine gave me her ticket to see “God of Carnage” last night, because she has a bad cold. The cast is James Gandolfini, Marcia Gay Harden, Hope Davis and Jeff Daniels. I was excited about seeing the play and just before I went to the theater I stopped at one of those ubiquitous cafes that are all over the city, I think it was Cafe Metro, or maybe it was Cafe Europa, on 7th Avenue between 31st and 32n Streets. I ordered a small vegetable and rice soup and sat alone at a table. It was close to seven p.m. and it was dark out already, and as I sat in the cafe eating my soup, I suddenly started to cry.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve eaten alone at one of those cafes. But suddenly the combination of knowing that winter is coming and it’s so dark and cold (last night was particularly cold), and feeling unrooted, missing my family, worrying about the dogs, knowing that soon Steve and I have to sit down with the lawyers, all of that hit me and I couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t make a scene, I just quietly sat there trying to eat the vegetable and rice soup. I called my dear friend Lisa and couldn’t reach her, so I left a message. Within two minutes she called me back from the checkout line at Whole Foods.
Lisa went through a divorce about ten years ago and her advice always is: you have to go through the pain to get past it. And it will get better, much better – eventually – but not until time has passed and you’ve processed the feelings.
I felt much better talking to Lisa, finished the soup and walked uptown through Times Square to the theater. I met a woman I’d never met before, my friend Barbara’s friend, Robin. She was very easy to talk to and loves to go swing dancing, so we agreed to go out together to dance.
The play was about two married couples who meet to discuss their young sons – one of them hit the other with a stick, knocking out two front teeth. Within half an hour they’re all arguing and it’s clear that both marriages have serious problems. James Gandolfini delivers a speech about marriage, about the difficulties inherent in sharing a life with someone, raising kids, coping with losses, and aging parents, and all the crises that come up over the years. I have written similar speeches over the years myself. I didn’t love the play, the characters were all basically unsympathetic, but I definitely related to the subject and it was a true pleasure watching excellent performances.
I thought about Pema Chodron quite a bit last night, as I was feeling all the emotions and I knew that just having them, and allowing them to move through me, is exactly where I need to be right now. Things are falling apart… and they are also slowly coming together.