Sunday, February 22, 2015

24 Hours

This is the So Cal talk of the town this evening. But not for me.
I slipped out the door yesterday morning, simply telling my mother that I was off to an evening of theatre with old friends. (M is here.)

It was a much bigger day than that. It was a drive through the past, recent and not-so-recent, in a grid-lock through L.A. way where you have time to inhabit years of your life, taking it all in, remembering this and wondering if you'll ever forget that.

I had lunch with my dear friend Elizabeth, a friend I know "in the memoir way." You want to get to know someone? Take a memoir writing class. Write down your story. Read it. Listen while they read some pages from their story. Repeat, repeat. Thereafter those words will always hover between you. They are the basis for how you know them. How you trusted them with your story. How they will always be able to trust you with theirs. Sprinkle some of that over your Greek salad.

She and I went to the memorial service for the husband of the beautiful and fabulous women who taught that first class we took something close to a decade ago. This must be hard for you, Elizabeth and other friends said, acknowledging my own recent loss of the man who loved me. A dark place I chose not to step into. One cannot go to the service for another's beloved and wail. T'ai Chi Chih has taught me to place my feet flat on the floor, to feel the earth beneath the floor, and connect with the energy there. To breathe. To recognize my t'an tien. Your friend's grief is not your grief. All grief is all grief, said the voices in my head. Both are true. So I let those voices just talk it out while my feet stayed flat.

There were prayers, and poems, and remembrances. One learns so much at a memorial. Memorial. Memoir. Both peel open the story. The music, performed by the church choir and a soloist from the Los Angeles Opera was probably the most stunning I have ever heard at a church service. The soloist, a beautiful young soprano, was from South Korea. Dan's face seemed to materialize from her face in the moments I felt most transported. There he was in front of me, my beloved.

Then came the driving. I drove through one old neighborhood after another on surface streets, crawling along in traffic that seemed just one car short of gridlock, contemplating the three decades of my life with a man who discarded me like I was nothing. How incredibly lucky that was in the bad luck good luck sort of way. I shuffled my plans around to this and that as if all the time travel was unhinging my brain and after, a stop at a favorite museum, ended up in the new incarnation of the very restaurant where, for years, I ate dinner nearly every Sunday night with The Someone, Finally, I went to the theatre with friends and saw a play that I performed in myself forty years ago. I slept at the house of those dear old friends who gave me oranges and almonds this morning that I ate in my car with a perfect latté I bought at an old-haunt coffee shop.

It was a lot to think about.

And 24 hours later, an empty cup in my cup-holder, I was back. Not singed from the re-entry, but warmed.


Ms. Moon said...

"Not singed, but warm."
Good. You faced a lot of things today, feet on the ground.

Elizabeth said...

Wow. That was stunning. I am so lucky to know you, Denise, and to have shared a bit of your life on the page and for real --