In my kitchen is the man I called my boyfriend until recently. He has come extra early I do not know why, he informs me that he doesn’t miss me much, that he will be leaving early and that he is happy alone in his man cave. Ok.
At my door is a friend I have not seen in eight years. He reminds me of this later, the last time I saw him he was doing Tai Chi in the park, I had walked six miles in the park that morning and had spent the next hour or two huddled under a blanket before braving a cold wind to pick up my daughter at a friend’s house. I saw his car and stopped. We talked, I was freezing.
And later in my kitchen are people I have been friends with for 20 years, and a month. People who are in their twenties and people in their seventies, we are quoting Monty Python, acting out charades, telling the wife of one not to shush her husband he is fitting right in with our obnoxious antics.
I sleep late, and wait for the dew to dry off the back steps, it is time to paint them. I waited all summer for more than two days of drying sun. The light is bright, the sky that special October blue. The shadows criss cross across the sunshine yellow back porch of my neighbors house.
He told me he stopped coming by because he had a falling out due to an insignificant comment to the ex, that the ex excised him from his life, just like that. That is his, and we both say MO at the same time.
He plays my guitar a pick in his pocket like any good guitarist. I tell him his playing has improved and he smiles with a small pride. He promises to visit to help me learn to play.
The man I am seeing, texts me, and I feel a deep uncertainty about it all. He in the harrowing place I was in six years ago. I practicing excision as I learnt it. It is easier to push people away than to face fear, to face rejection. But I am surrounded by friends, people who love and adore me. Near and far. And I am waving that shy little wave, hello my friend, do you see me as the kind and gentle, wild and wacky, generous and loving soul that I am?
He is cautious with me, and I think it must be because he is uncertain. Maybe he doesn’t trust me? Maybe because of something unspoken. I do not know, but he came and that was a giant clue. I think.
I do not know.
I spend this day in quiet contemplation, watching a movie about transcendence that I had watched once before. Scraping, painting, reading, writing. And I am tired in a way, a deep feeling of having my edges worn.
I watch the tender way he takes her hand and helps her down the steps, carrying a flashlight so she can see with her one good eye in the dark. The gentle way he urges her that it is time to go, the way she and I talk and talk. I value this friendship so deeply. I value all of these friendships.
And I will not excise these people from my life.
What a shallow existence. To let go of others for small indiscretions.
And maybe even for big ones.
The deepest friendships survive being forged in the fire.
As has my soul.