Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I keep thinking about calling Philippa and Daniella, the two friends who visited me last week after we hadn’t seen each other since we were fourteen.

I keep thinking about calling them – Philippa about six hours ahead in Rome, Daniella about sixteen hours ahead in Melbourne. I will call them, but I am nervous.

How to recreate that intimacy we had last week? Is it possible?

I keep imagining them retreating from me, finding reasons why not to be friends anymore. Maybe I shouldn’t write the things I write for instance.

I think of calling Philippa and Daniella because I experienced so much love from them last week it was intoxicating and in these difficult days I want to go back to that, and I am afraid it won’t be there.

And I feel needy, like I’ll call them just out of that need and there’s something wrong with that.

These are the thoughts I have, but I know I will call within the next few days.

This morning I was thinking maybe I should just clean the house and cook and do the laundry and stay out of the business side of things.

With surprise, it reminded me of the time in Athens when Natvar declared that I would be the maid from now on. I’ve remembered this before, but what I remembered today was how although it was degrading, there was some relief for me there too. Natvar was saying I couldn’t handle the complexities of dealing with his yoga clients, that I was not like him and Mark and Tracy who, he implied, were plugged into some adult understanding that I was too crazy for, or too damaged for. It felt like he was giving me permission to turn half my brain off and just keep the floors clean, and for brief periods of time I took refuge in that.

It was strange though to hear myself think these same things on my own: maybe I should just cook and clean.

My mother trying to entice me now into confiding in her. My mother is a nice person. That’s the trouble. She’s a nice old lady. I don’t find it easy to criticize her. I’m not even that interested in criticizing her, but I have to say a few things.

You can’t coax someone into confiding in you. Especially after fifty years. Especially after you’ve read ten chapters of their memoir – not their novel. And you can’t tell them in one breath that they don’t have enough tact in their writing, and in the next invite them to talk openly with you. Take your pick.

My mother should be smart enough to see at least that much.

I think, well, I’ve never been a mother so what do I know.

But my mother wants to get away with just doing her jobs – taking care of elderly people younger than she is and paying her bills. She wants to slip out of this life easily. I should think about all the fun times we had at the ashram and not mention that we were all – at the very least – under somebody else’s large thumb.

I guess “mother” – even when she’s a little old lady in Sullivan County – is still spelled with a capital M.

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