Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Brevity & Gravity

not to be confused with ebony and ivory, nor entropy and misanthropy.

many years ago, i read an interview with some super old geezer -- i can't even remember who he was, only that he was old -- and the interviewer asked him what surprised him most about life. his answer: "its brevity." i was stunned, and deeply affected. i remember thinking then that i better appreciate my twenties because i wouldn't have endless years to squander them. and i better die way old and without regrets. and i better be independently wealthy and retired by the time i reached 30. what a dreamer i was.

i still dream, i suppose, but i took the stars out of my eyes long ago. now i'd just rather be healthy (must quit smoking!) and i'd really like some peace of mind -- something to quell this restless soul i must have had since birth. terrible affliction, it is. my tarot teacher says spirituality brings peace of mind. perhaps i should start my own religion: Millaism. our bibles would be Dr. Seuss books. it'd be real simple stuff, with maxims like "thou shalt always look people in the eye and smile at least five times a day." did that make you smile? what the hell am i babbling about?

my new boyfriend (moniker: Momo, pronounced with two long O's), i'm still crazy about. his father died last week. you can read about it on Momo's blog and on his brother's blog. from what i've gathered, the father's life was quite storied, though not always charmed. strained, problematic relationships.

still, you only have one father, so this has been a difficult time. a few days ago, i called my own father to check in with him. i had seen him only a few weeks prior, and sat with him at his kitchen table shooting the shit like we always do. per usual, he was asking me about work and the state of my finances, trying as he does to make me a responsible member of society. i reassured him as i always do, knowing he would worry anyway. then he stared at me for a long moment before he said, "by your face, i'm going to guess that you have a new man in your life." daddy knows. hiding anything from him was always impossible. a new boyfriend, a bad grade, a dent in the car -- forget it. those strong hazel eyes would pierce into you and extract your bullshit. daddy always knows.

i get him on his cell phone and i'm near tears. i remind him of the new man who's been brightening my face for the past few weeks. "sounds like he hurt you, baby," my daddy says. no, no, his father died. "his father died and i need you to know that i love you. i love you so much."

i implore you, precious people: call your parents, if you're still fortunate enough to have them. call them and tell them. life's greatest surprise is its brevity.

Momo's sad, so i'm sad, too. we go through his old photo albums. he tells me stories. i hold his hand and kiss his forehead. it's a helpless feeling to see someone you care for suffering and know that you can't do much to alleviate it. one would think this would put a kibosh on the swooning, but it seems to have accelerated the mush metamorphosis. certainly, there are beginnings in all endings, and i find myself suddenly invigorated in the saddest of ways. it's made me snap out of the deadened detachment i've been so proud of these past few years, this numbness that has kept me from embracing the full spectrum of emotions i'm capable of experiencing. this has all been tragically life-affirming, and i find myself feeling like a woman again, where i can nurture and caretake and support, and offer the best parts of myself at the worst possible time. it's like a flower growing out of the manure. the gravity of entropy.

back on the phone, my father tells me he loves me, too. his voice gets shaky, and i can sense him getting teary as well. he asks the hows and whys (massive heart attack at 79) and offers apologies. i tell him i love him twice more. then, ever the doting husband, he says, "your mother is at home alone. call her and tell her you love her, too." so i hang up with him and do just that.

and i love the rest of y'all, too, especially you, Momo. :-)

No comments: