It made me smile at the end of the day to see the house and my girls in a happy mess. We had a cozy day yesterday marked with jazzy holiday music and art projects. And when night stole into the windows, we were just as content to clean it all up and to let some of it go until the next day too so we could collapse together on the couch, dog at our feet.
She always read the profiles first and saved the photos for last – she wanted to think she was being fair in her evaluation. She didn’t consider herself to be someone drawn only to physical appearances.
But as she clicked through more and more profiles in her search for a companion, she grew impatient. She wanted to winnow the results more quickly. She was tired of being lonely. So, finally, she started looking only at the photos. And then she saw one that stood out and made her heart stop — even the profile matched: reserved, independent, affectionate and loyal.
It was an overweight, sleepy shar pei that had been saved from a puppy mill.
She adopted the dog the next day and never looked back.
She wrote in a journal yesterday, an actual book filled with empty pages on which to daydream. It had been so long since she composed her thoughts this way that she barely recognized herself on paper. But her hands remembered who she was and she wrote until her fingers were smudged with ink.
She could think her way to the end of every worst case scenario in two seconds flat.
That’s just what she did.
But when she saw how beautiful the morning felt, she decided she was going to just try to see what was right in front of her and let things unfold. Even if just for today.
Her brain was frazzled from all that thinking and she wanted to enjoy the lightness around her.
Sometimes she played this game:
She tried to see how many different ways she could see the same thing every day and still love it all over again each time. For she believed that it was the infinite variety of a thing–a person, an object–contained within its constancy that gave it a richness and beauty worth savoring.
She felt this way about a handful of things: The light. Water. Trees. Her children. A few select friends.
She tried to feel it about herself too. But that was more difficult. That was a game she had to keep playing again and again with patient endurance.
She was a fully grown woman.
She had been married and divorced.
She mothered two children.
She had witnessed beauty and death, sometimes in one eloquent arc.
Still, she took her cues about love from her dog, who had no shame in greeting her joyfully upon each meeting or in nudging up against her to ask for the affection she wanted.
Some things could be that simple.
This was her second morning of the day already and she had not even left the house.
But the first morning came too close to the end of night so she waited patiently in bed until it seemed right to start again.
Longing woke her,
The rain a remembrance.
Desire swirled in her,
Moon full of promise.
A familiar ache touched her,
Stars dappled her dreams.
She stirred and found beside her
A wish, nothing more.
Her wedding was in two weeks and she had no one to join her in holy matrimony to her future ex-husband.
She had left only one detail of the entire event to him: he was to find a Catholic priest who would marry them. It had been a great debate among his family, the question of who would marry them. Her future father-in-law reasoned loudly and often through the issues: she was a heathen in the literal sense–an unbaptized, irreligious and unenlightened girl and he was a non-practicing Catholic, long dormant in his faith. Her in-laws held several very public discussions among 75 of the closest relatives at family gatherings to review the finer points of possibilities, and she had even offered at one point to convert to Catholicism if only to shut them up. But her fiance assured her that he would find a priest willing to perform the ceremony–it was the Catholic Church, he said, and therefore just a simple matter of money. Months before the wedding date, he contacted a priest who agreed to conduct the service, to everyone’s relief. She put it out of her mind and planned everything else.
And then, two weeks before the biggest mistake of her life, she got a call at work from her fiancé. The priest called to say he had been unable to secure the proper dispensations from the Catholic church to perform the wedding. He seemed vaguely to be asking for more money, but they had already paid quite a bit. So the priest backed out. In hindsight, she should have taken it for what it was, a sign from God himself to avoid the marriage. But she was heavily invested in the process by then — and she was angry. Really angry. And anger usually got her going, even if in the wrong direction.
She needed to find someone at this late stage in the game to salvage her marital status, and the answer she found was at the back of a wedding magazine, a small print ad that read: “Rent-a-priest.” It described the services of an ex-communicated priest who would also dress up in various costumes upon request. She called him up and booked him over the phone that very day. He and she discussed briefly the possibility that he dress like a vampire monk, but she put her humor aside for love and insisted that he look as much like a real priest as feasible on the big day.
When the big day came, she was married by the rent-a-priest guy and her in laws didn’t know the difference. If they did, they behaved like good Catholics and ignored the truth.
When she reached a point at which none of her actual professional opinions were suitable for publication anymore, she realized it was time for a career change.