I had an emotionally exhausting week, spent Friday with Mr. Hotness, and Saturday with a friend who prepared loving, tasty, but nutritionally unwise pancakes for breakfast and then dropped me off to a quiet house on a rainy October Sunday, to sit in front of my computer, searching for words to characterize my feelings after such a traumatic event.
The words came, but will not be published. Instead, after talking to both my parents, I found myself slicing bread for a tasty but nutritionally unwise hummus dinner and thinking, That was an entry I would have written a year ago, when I felt defined by pain. But is that really the emotion that mattered, this week?
The answer was a resounding No.
Here’s what I think mattered.
When my mom left her house in tears, she knew she could call my brother and he’d be waiting for her. When my brother told me that he was tired and had to go to work in the morning and his brain was exploding from the news he’d just heard, I knew he’d still help my mom with maturity, kindness and generosity most people twice his age can’t muster on the best of days.
When I told my boss, she immediately understood my initial concerns that I’d need to fly home. When I emailed my friends in New York, they responded instantly with sympathy and support. When I sent Mr. Hotness forty emails over the course of the week, he replied to each with wisdom and affection. When I told Uke, she waited to offer tales of similar experiences until I was ready to think about someone other than myself.
When my mom woke the next day, instead of tormenting herself with bitterness or vengeance, as many women do in her position, she was open to suggestions that this shocking situation may have upsides. She responded with courage and an open mind, only justifying the immense pride my brother and I have always had in her.
When I talked to my dad today, we were honest with each other and ended the conversation on good terms, and that is a good place to begin.
And the days brought surrounding pleasures. With the twins, dancing to Christina Aguilera in the kitchen, negotiating the Scooby-Doo shirt versus the less-worn one with the appliqued frogs dancing across it, shocking them with tales of my brother’s temperamental cat and the origins of the nearly-invisible scar on my wrist, driving Hot Wheels around the playroom for hours on end, answering their demand for kisses and cuddles. With their sister, helping her practice her letters, praising her roly poly’s, eating the plastic meals she’d created on her tiny kitchen playset, hearing her story about her classmates temporarily snubbing her.
With the twins’ playmates, at their house on Thursday afternoon. Petting their extremely sexy black and white cat, reading Winnie the Witch to all four of them, chatting over tea with their kind mum, who turned up the reggae while she sewed, I knitted, and the kids rode bikes outside.
With Mr. Hotness, the moment he touched my face in a crowded pub and I felt absurdly touched, mocking the couple playing pool nearby, waking each other up in the middle of the night. Watching him put on a t-shirt. Knowing I can tease him about the music he’s just put on, without insulting him, knowing he can tease me about my intelligence regarding home appliances, without insulting me.
With the girlfriend I spent Saturday night with, arriving at the house where she lives with her “mate’s” parents, as they set out a vegetarian feast for friends and insisted we join them. Drinking wine, eating M&M’s and watching Love, Actually in her room. Eating those yummy pancakes, knowing she knew I was in a shit mood but didn’t hold it against me.
With my boss in the kitchen, talking about my family’s current events while she, covered in flour, finished walnut banana bread for the school bake sale.
With myself, on the train, finding the perfect song on my iPod to relieve my feelings, burning a candle in this quiet room, waking up each morning with new knowledge about myself and everyone I know. Realizing that I cannot analyze or define my conflicting emotions away. Believing that, somehow, this will be for the best. Believing that the best is all that matters. The help we offer each other, the love we express, the emotions I can’t define but which, somehow, the people who care about me understand anyway.