Tuesday, May 23, 2006

It's so simple

In less than three days, I will have moved out of New York and started the 889-mile drive to Nashville. Most of my stuff is in a 5 by 5 by 8 foot storage faciltity on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. What I have left here, mostly, are the necessities: bedding and towels, clothes, CDs, computer, and other extraneous things: the Jean Cocteau plate hanging in the window, our Indonesian windchime, 22 kinds of lipgloss, and 12 half-empty bottles of hair products. I keep making lists of what I need to do between now and then -- send three years of tax returns and W-2 forms to the co-op board, get the oil changed in my car, teach the creative writing class tomorrow morning in Queens, teach yoga on Wednesday night, fix the broken lamp in the kitchen, buy packing tape, pay the electric bill, cancel the Times' subscription.

When I let myself, in moments of weakness, I feel this crazy unfounded anxiety about the fact that before the week is up, I will no longer have either an address or a place to live. Robert and I have been counting on this co-op deal to work out but the truth is that despite all the information we've provided (12 letters of reference, credit checks, tax returns, bank statements, 10% down), despite all of that we have yet to arrange an interview with the board. I feel like a liability in some ways (our real estate agent and lawyer both keep suggesting that maybe the deal would be easier if I back out in order for Robert to be sole shareholder) -- and surely, I think, I must be the only potential shareholder who's primary income in 2004 came from Unemployment.

If it does work out, the move-date is August 1st.

So I work myself up into a foaming fit worrying about where to live and what to do and my career and I start to feel like a total wreck and then just when I'm beginning to revert to the idea that I'll move back to Guatemala and try to get a job at a tortilla shop in Antigua and not deal with any of this, I remember this story I read two weeks ago:

A woman had a 26-year-old son who was dying of cancer and so, in his last moments of life, she crawled into his hospital bed and held his hand. And just before he died, he turned his head towards her and smiled and said, "Oh, Mom, it's so simple."

When I think of this, all of my anxiety and running-away fantatsies fall away and instead of worry, I feel a tremendous wave of gratitude and love. On my birthday yesterday, I sat with myself on the floor for a little while, and resolved that this year I will try not to harbor negative thoughts. I will try not to say anything negative about people; I do not want to gossip. I crossed my legs and straightened my back and took deep breaths and meditated for half an hour, saying over and over in my head the word 'Sunari', which in Sanskrit means 'joy'.

And then, of course, before the sun even set, I had started to feel sort of sorry for myself and had for all intents and purposes fallen into a little hole. Robert came back home from a day of meetings, and he gave me a wonderful birthday card and a beautiful aqua and white Pucci dress, which I loved but when I tried on didn't think fit me very well. And we walked hand-in-hand across Houston Street to wd-50, and at some point between my sitting on his lap by the window and our collapsing into laughter about this ongoing thumbwar championship "final round" that's been going on for, like, six months, I stopped feeling self-conscious and old (not old, exactly, but a slave to the voice that's yelling, "Your life is passing you by!") and we had one of the loveliest nights ever. The loveliness was a combination of three things: us, the food, and the fact that we were sitting in a corner booth. We did the tasting menu, which was the reason I wanted to go there in the first place, and it was amazing. It started off with "chard shavings" that Robert said looked like someone had accidentally knocked over some fish food onto a plate (this was followed by his imitation of a very hungry goldfish...) and then included courses of food that I would never have imagined together -- cornbread ice-cream, a tiny piece of spring lamb with honeydew melon and a streak of carob sauce, wild rice krispie treats.

All day today I've been feeling blessed and well-loved -- and then I remember that I'm leaving in three days and I start, for a minute, to backslide into a state of fretting and hair-twirling. "It's all so simple," I say to myself. Sarah, let go of your worry.


Blogger camille remarkable said...

When I read "It's all so simple." it struck me in the exact opposite way. It's very ease for someone on their way out to say things like that. I imagine I'd be a great guru-like person if I was on my death bed. I'd be ecstaticly joyous if I knew I was getting out of here.

I think I'm turning into a villain. Hey, it's a living.

Glad you're well and that you had a good birthday.

3:24 PM  

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