Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Some unconnected things

I went for a walk in the early evening to mark the beginning of spring. Thunder was rumbling off in the distance, and I brought my umbrella, but the rain never really materialized while I was out. It was quite warm out, and the walking felt good.

I ended up eating a meal at Bite, where I seemed to irritate my friend Kirsten (a waitress there) by requesting that she put the raspberry sauce on the side of the chocolate mousse Napoleon I had ordered for dessert. I was worried that the sauce would be too sweet.

"It's really pretty with the sauce," she insisted. As it was not my intention to photograph the thing, I let my request stand, and she pouted off to the kitchen to prepare it.

It probably would have been prettier with the sauce, but it was a bit too sweet, and I do not regret my decision.

As I left the restaurant, a man who looked like Beck's dubious cousin was talking on a cell phone in the space between the two doors.

"Yeah," he said, peering out the front door and into the darkened sky above the electric company building worriedly. "I've been seeing a lot of lightning flashes tonight in the city sky, so I'm thinking... ."

The door closed behind me, but I had to pause for a moment to admire his phrasing. "...tonight in the city sky..." I liked that.

Walking home, I tried to assess my current state of mind. The crying fits which were rising up suddenly like a summer storm have stopped, and I think they're gone. I feel more tired than anything else, though some sadness at my grandmother's passing still colors most things right now.


For all the sound and fury, the sky to the west was very beautiful in the hours before the sun went down. The clouds were strangely layered and kept allowing irregular shapes of light to illuminate whole sections of sky. They looked like they had been rendered in oils.


Yesterday I returned home to find samples of a long project I had worked on recently, as well as a box of cookies from the project coordinators. They were saying thanks for the work done on the project, and insisting that this year's brochures are infinitely better than any previous year. The box of cookies weighs about four pounds, even though it has only 24 cookies inside it. Each cookie is only about as big around as a bar coaster and perhaps a half an inch tall, but they are so incredibly dense and moist that I suspect each one contains about a dozen eggs. When I eat one, it is almost too much. They are like eating a meal of cookie, like eating an entire cake. Still, it's a lovely and totally unexpected gesture.


Sunday at the visitation, my aunt sidled up next to me and said "You need to lighten up" in a tone that was not altogether friendly. I was having a pretty hard time on Sunday, but I bit back the first couple of replies that sprang forth and said "Story of my life" in a measured tone. She let it go, and so did I. A friend of mine said later that it should be flattering to know that I can bring down a death gathering with the sheer weight of my pathos. Perhaps I should have stuck with songwriting.


heartinsanfrancisco said...

I have noticed that when people preface a remark to me with the words "you need," I usually don't. They are projecting their own needs onto me.

Knowing this has allowed me to ignore their demands if I sense that they are not coming from a place of concern for me.

Perhaps your aunt felt inadequate because she didn't know how to comfort you, and wanted your pain to go away so that neither of you would have to deal with it.

Your relationship with your grandmother was special to you and to her. How you deal with her loss is up to you. And if you don't grieve as much as you need to now, it will hit you later, and feel even worse for being stuffed down for so long.

Be well, Maht, and take yourself through the healing process as slowly as you need to. At some point, I promise you, the many good memories you have will overpower the pain of losing her, and you will be able to smile again as you talk about her.


Zinnia Cyclamen said...

I hope it's not too late to say I'm really sorry to hear about your grandmother. Her death is a big loss for you. HISF is right that you need to grieve YOUR way in your own time, not to other people's agendas.

I think your response to your aunt was well chosen, and - if you don't mind being plagiarised - I would like to remember it for situations where I need a similar reply.

Unknown said...

DITTO what HINSF and Zinna said. Take you time. Everyone needs to grieve in their own way.

Thinking of you

Anonymous said...

This was nice, Mr. T. I love that your client gave you cookies. They gave you cookies? And they are the client? Goodness, that is very cool.

This was a nice nugget of goodness, this post. Welcome back.

The Moon Topples said...

HinSF: Thanks. I'm allowing the pace to set itself.

Zinnia: If you could send me a nickel each time, I'd appreciate it. Otherwise, use it at will.

Liz: Thanks. You're very kind.

GT: Yes, cookies from a client. Apparently I'm such a good complainer that they decided that the basket of money I got for doing the work was just not quite good enough.

Squirmy Popple said...

Those cookies sound delicious. I'm starting to get hungry again, despite the fact that I just had half a bar of chocolate for dessert. I'm stuffed but man, it was worth it.

Ms Baroque said...

Well, I'm off cookies. No fat. And as I have given presents of gratitude to designers for work well done, I am very glad to know that I fall in the "cool" camp. I revere good design work and those who do it.

Maht, the anecdote about your aunt is refreshingly like a real family. I assume you've seen the Royal Tennenbaums? I agree with your friend and also point out the great value in this life of a funny anecdote, whatever pain had to be gone through in the getting of it.

The Moon Topples said...

Katie: Stuffed by a half-bar of chocolate? These cookies would almost certainly kill you.

Ms. B: "refreshingly like a real family..." Well, it is my real family. I have seen Royal Tennenbaums but long ago and I'm afraid I don't understand the reference here.

And, yes, a funny anecdote is almost always worth the trouble.