Friday, March 1, 2013

Shelter

Today, I found shelter from the storm at my friend HA's house.  By "the storm," I mean the fact that I am homeless on Fridays: the babysitter and the kids are at the house, so I can't stay there to work.  So I have weird, peripatetic days, and woe betide me if my computer or phone or iPad runs out of batteries, because guaranteed, every electrical outlet at every cafe with wireless is already being jealously guarded by other strange no-office nomads just like myself.  But today, I happened to be texting with HA just as my computer ran out of batteries only 20 minutes into my morning's work, and she invited me over to her place.

The ceilings in her stunning home in Mott Haven are high, and there is a full-wall window looking into the back garden.  She cooked mushroom soup and her son watched "Wonder Pets" (her son is the same age as my older son, but it's just him, so one can work, talk, etc because he is not romping and screaming and arguing with another, younger child who needs constant supervision and keeps tugging at your shirt and asking to nurse).  I leaned on her counter and watched her cook, and I cried a little, because I am always sad when I've been drinking the night before, and because I was - and am continuously - upset/confused/miserable about the declining health of a family member.

We ate soup and I drank coffee.  We opened our computers and worked - me on email correspondence related to my childbirth ed classes, and she on her textile designs, because she is a beautiful artist and designer and I am sure will be famous one day, at least among the most cognizant of the cognoscenti, and I'll be so proud to say that I knew her back when.  I finished that stupid post on weight, the one immediately preceding this one, which I didn't even care about anymore but had been dogging me for over a week, and she helped me choose new colors for both of my blogs.  The cat climbed on the table, we talked about henna and xiao yao wan and microchimerism, and her son showed me his favorite games on the iPad.  Some time during all of this, one of the three of us said something very special.  It was funny and jarring and changed the mood of the room for a moment, and we laughed as though we were not tired.  "That is what I will write about today," I thought, but I did not jot it down immediately, and I found that when I turned my mind to it about 30 minutes hence, I had no memory of what, precisely, that moment had been about.  I tried to get HA to tell me, but she didn't even know that there had been a moment.

Finally, when the time came, I packed my things up and took a cab back across the river to Harlem.  When I got home, my older son was standing on a stool at the counter, making a sneezy sort of witches' brew with herbs, spices, water, and dish soap.  My younger son laughed and laughed, shrieking "MAMA MAMA MAMA MAMA," taking my hand and leading me to the couch to nurse.

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