Coincidentally, the letter from the Knight landed in my inbox just minutes after I submitted my last entry. He'd had no knowledge I was writing a blog constructed entirely around the idea of this letter, so I had a hearty chuckle when it popped through. That lasted about, oh, 30 seconds.The letter was, of course, everything I expected to be. And way, way more. Sir Writes-a-Lot knows all this, but to say I was overwhelmed by the contents of the letter, titled "Summit Notes," would be an understatement as massive as the cup of coffee I wish I'd gotten my hands on this morning.
Notes on a summit meant to be convened on Labor Day weekend, which originally was to be the "make or break" juncture of our relationship. When we started dating, both of us — I…think — were entirely convinced that our involvement would amount to little more than a summer fling. A dalliance. After all, we're pretty dramatically different people coming out of seriously rough patches in our lives. Not to mention the whole "21 years apart" age thing. Yeah. And then love happened. It knocked us on our asses. Suddenly, Labor Day is approaching with all the weight it once carried, except now it's comedic that we would even consider ending this fling. Now, the idea of this weekend is watermelon pregnant with possibility for the future. Which we talk about all the time. Big, scary future stuff. Which is sort of how I've always been: inclined to leap to the whatever-case scenario instead of letting life unfold as it will. This is a PROBLEM. The stuff won't seem so big or scary when we're ready for it, but for now? It's too much sometimes. Too much then, not enough now. I can't even have a dog in my apartment, for Christ's sake. So that's where I was after I got the letter, which was, despite its electronic form, raw and beautiful and everything I love about his writing. Only surprisingly lacking in the run-on sentence department. (Golf claps, please.)
This, on top of everything else that's been going on — which I don't talk about here, because this blog is a place for me to appreciate the little things, and make little things seem big, and limit my disclosure by attempting to be both vague and poetic about the big things — left me in near tatters by the time I got to my weekly, um, session last night. Whatever, we should all be in therapy. When I got there, I didn't even know where to start. And in the spirit of vagueness and limited disclosure, I won't even start on all that here. I mean, I have to leave some reason for people to buy the book eventually, right? Anyway: We came to a simple conclusion after 50 minutes of faulty explanation and stories told out of order and context and fighting back tears and failing to do so and resisting the temptation to deprecate myself more than usual. And I've already written it once here, if not more: Too much then, not enough now. A few weeks ago, it was recommended that I do a little reading. Contrary to its cliché-fraught title, the book seems from its introduction to be fresh and humorous, not some new-agey drivel that will trigger my gag reflex after the first chapter. The full practice of mindfulness meditation may not wash with me, but the idea of focusing on the present, appreciating and coping with what I have in this moment, is something that needs to stay with me.
So. Even if I've spent almost an entire hour clutching a Kleenex and clinging to the same tired, silk tribal-print pillow, I leave those sessions with a renewed — if temporary — determination to treat myself better and…hate life less. Because really? I think it's pretty clear that I don't hate life. But the minutiae will eat you, if you let it. So, last night I decided I wouldn't be devoured, not then. I took a deep breath as the revolving doors spun me out into the persistent drizzle in the Loop after the appointment. After seeing a Brown line train rattle by from the ground, I decided to "treat myself" to a cab ride home. A shiny yellow pulled up to the light, and the friendliest African in America rolled down the window. "Need a cab, Miss?" In the best accent. Ever. I climbed in, my leggings squeaking against the faux leather seats of the new cab; he took my direction, punched his business into the meter and zoomed around to Michigan Avenue, then east to Lakeshore Drive. I closed my eyes and sank into the classical music he turned up as the speedometer crept upward. The drizzle turned to chubby, slow-sobbing raindrops that sneaked in through the cracked window every once in a while as we raced north, toward home. Hip-hop from unseen speakers somewhere in Uptown. Cinderblocks and the skeleton of a new Target just down the street. A busy night, full stomachs and happy conversation, at one of my favorite restaurants. "Would you like a receipt, Miss?" I handed the driver a twenty, crisp from the ATM, and four precious quarters — laundry money worth losing for his courtesy and sweetness at the end of a trying day. Someone else's laundry greeted me, a warm dryer sheet breeze through a lint-clouded screen, passing another apartment building on my street. When I got home, my mailbox was ready to burst: bills, ads, solicitations and a square purple envelope. Inside, he just wanted to send me some real mail. To let me know how much he loves me.
I will not take these things for granted. Now or ever.