I Didn’t Pee Until Three
Gracie Stories, part 4
I had a busy day the rest of that day. I did not pee, by the way, until about three in the afternoon, after a full morning at shul, then four students on my front protected porch, some delightfully confused parents and even one forgetful teacher, then finally about three I got to pee. I too am some sort of camel this way but this talk is taking me places I am not comfortable.
In this story of Gracie is also the story of my sacred partner who during this entire drama is recuperating at home from a pelvic fracture and is incapacitated in our bedroom on a platform bed that opens onto a porch Italiano style. It’s a pleasant place to hang out and if it were up to me, I would never leave these two environments: bedroom and porch, happily tapping away on a keyboard, sitting in the sun, playing an old Spanish guitar, listening to the great oud players, etc. But my beloved and I are different this way. This is a huge adjustment for her.
I am cooking for her and filling whatever need she may have. I am cooking simply but consciously; fresh and delightful foods with good ingredients and only the best olive oils, etc., lots of salads and fresh fruits, simple and fresh as I learned some years ago summering in Umbria when I was a cosmopolitan. I don’t want to make her fat either (she doesn’t want to be fat is what I mean), she’s not moving much yet so I am very careful what I prepare but so far it’s been excellent.
We are coming on Passover and that will make it a little more complex but I am up to it. I intend to consult with some of my women friends who are excellent this way and eager to share their recipes plus we eat Sephardi style (my beloved’s family is from Spain by way of the Ottoman Empire so we come to this authentically) and the Sephardi cuisine is an entirely different matter and fine fine for the directives I have assumed in food preparation, also a consciousness distinction that I adopted many years ago when we first met.
I haven’t told her about these stories I am writing because, well, she has her own story, is doing the best she can to recuperate (it’s not her nature to lie in bed day after day while her bones are deep healing within her southernly regions) and I don’t want to burden her with the stories about Gracie who is also preoccupying my thoughts and requiring my care.
I also don’t want a lot of people coming over or bringing food as, well, it would only make it more difficult for all of us during this period of her recuperation.
I am cooking and caring for an injured sacred partner and a declining doggie and if I said too much I might start equating the experiences and insult both creatures.
Better that they intersect through me, so to speak, and don’t know too much about each other. Who knows about such things, I think they are esoteric enough that there is really no one to ask. Should I share their stories with each other? Or am I – the caretaker? Basta. (Why I am turning Italian during these stories is another mystery).
I live in a sophisticated time in which language has eclipsed genuine emotion and someone who takes care of someone else has a nomen professionalis: caretaker I guess. Care-giver I’ve heard. Compassionator. All this I think is ridiculous; I’m showing up as those who I am caring for have shown up for me.
Someone did suggest to me this just yesterday (I can’t remember the context but I cannot forget the question): have you asked Rabbi Tarfon (2nd c.)? As in a consultation of some sort about these subjects. Tarfon is the one who said: the day is short, the work is great, the laborers are sluggish, the reward is much, and the Master is pressing; it is not your duty to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.
I think that’s so wise and I wish I remembered the conversation but someone did suggest to me: have you asked Rabbi Tarfon? I may have dreamed it.
I have an easy sense of consultation with my ancestors and I don’t think this in any way qualifies as crazy. I admit to even going to my more recent ancestors in times of greatest distress and asking for help; I don’t go there until I really have to, and I have had to several times and that’s all. I consider this a form of z’khut avot (merit of the ancestors).
I have also written many times about the great ones from the past whose genes I share but I honestly thought I was alone in this kind of thinking until this person asked in all seriousness: have you asked Rabbi Tarfon?
I did. Rabbi Tarfon suggested I just show up and take care of every living being I can, that if I did nothing more with my life than that, I would fulfill the purpose of all sentient beings: to take care of one another. Maybe with less self reflection.
Gracie walked gingerly but without flop down the steps this morning and she is presently breakfasting on the porch down below. The weather is holding and I will put her into the pen next to my Italianate home.