Geraldine and I always pick up right where we left off. I think we both miss us traveling to the UK. But for now, she understands why (more child and $ related rather than Glioblastoma-related). The trip was simply a good day. I went on a plane for the first time in 18 months, I was alone. I was good.
I rarely get to introduce Geraldine to new things. She has introduced me well to experiences. The experiences: Argentine market, Target and Tiffany & Co.
First, John honored my request of taking me to this small Argentine butcher in Burbank (I had flown into Burbank). It was a glorious few minutes of asking for what I wanted. What do the two people who worked there (butchers) prefer when it comes to Argentine Dulce de Leche or cookies (specifically, an Alfajor, which is a long explanation). The entire conversation was in Spanish (and too, I spoke Spanish to one of the airport traffic policemen). John and Geraldine noticed how I was treated because I gave Spanish a go. I am far from fluent, but my mom, has taught me to try. Always try. Because I tried, I was warmly helped in the circle of Argentine food. The butcher pointed me to the most expensive Alfajores, but to the cheapest dulce de leche. He could speak English, it was clear, but since I said why I spoke Spanish and I said thank you for letting me practice, he never switched. He just articulated words slowly and well. (Oh, the Alfajores were the best Paco, Steve and I had ever tasted from the box (bakeries, another story). We are now officially addicted).
Back to Geraldine…
At Target, she fell in love with the $7 t-shirts. At Tiffany, she was so impressed with how I was treated (I just went in to get the good earring backings they have, I cannot find the ones I bought in December!). Here I was, about to spend $5.00 and I was treated as though I were to spend $50,000.00 The man there even noticed the tiny silver Tiffany earrings I was wearing. This he expressed with a compliment. So from now on, she will go into Target, and go into Tiffany’s. I like this.
I was married before she was, but her marriage has been a wonderful guide. She and her husband were so different. We were gossiping (her brother and I) about how she and her husband have positively changed each other. Steve and I were more stubborn about changes, but we do try to follow the path they have articulated so well. He is the love of her life. It is such a huge bonus that she married a car fanatic. He and Steve have clicked from the moment they met. He has slowly let go of each of his collector cars (save for one) because he wants to share his life, substantially with her. She never thought that he should sell them, he just wanted to simplify his previous passions before he was part of her life. They met 10 years ago. And they still seem new. Vibrant. Impassioned.
I also felt unbelievably honored yesterday when she described our friendship (to another friend) over the last (almost) 17 years (holy cow). It too, is strong and vibrant. Her brother ensured that I knew of all my blessings. He knew the perfect words to say. He is a mentor in almost dying, and slowly moving forward.
I was speculating about relationships…those that last. I have a theory that it takes a third party to do the screening. I was thinking of my 5 Sac friends, and the good marriages we all seem to have (just the usual complaints, nothing crucial) and of the 6 marriages, all but one had a matchmaker involved (Shan was mine, thank you Shan!). All but one had a screening process of a friend or a matchmaking service. I was thinking that even for my mom, there was someone at the bridge center who thought she and Clark would make a good match.
Other than the chatting, the highlight of the adventure (aside from the Argentine interaction) was on the return flight. The plane was relatively empty, but across the aisle, a row back, was a guy who had been traveling. He was older, friendly, and had a southern accent, but had resettled in Roseville. The man in the window seat was also a local. I listened to them talk for the hour long flight and I held my tongue, tightly. The aisle guy started off ok, just talking about Japan and the tragedies in the news. They seemed just like two men chatting: one in his early 50s and one in his 60s. Then, clearly, the aisle guy let his politics show, (and not in sync with my own). I wanted to turn and start debating with him about ethics and morality but the man at the window eloquently posed logical questions and statements. Rather than arguing with someone’s politics, he chose to slowly and calmly express his views, his evidence. I was so glad I could hear how well issues could be put, how articulate one person can be in an intimate setting. The Window Guy wanted to make it a good, healthy discussion. He showed his political lean to the left, but no judgement for those leaning to the right. Openness. I was reminded of an old friend (gay) who said, if you want a world of diversity, one has to celebrate both sides of the rainbow.
I am worn out, for good reasons. Yesterday was a long and happy day. Today too. As Geraldine and John raved about my boys, I just missed them so. I missed them quietly for one, whole day.
I am now typing, listening to Peter Gabriel instead of Steve’s snoring. He told me I could stay up late tonight. It does not seem to matter what or why we squabble. At the end of the day, I cannot hold anger. I was frustrated by being…The Mom. All day I felt as though I were nagging (it was not even a bad day! It was a good day). Nag. Nag. Nag. I also felt like everything I said was being questioned (daily with Paco and I had a hilarious conversation with Judy about the Alfajores).
Steve asked me how he was questioning me. And I explained. Then I magically put the situation in a work context. We were lying here, describing completely different interpretations. It was hilarious if one thinks about it. He fell asleep in the process but my anger lasted about 70 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I am listening to him snore and want to wake him up or turn him over. Or I want to make a list of naggable items and tape it to his head (garbage, garbage, garbage). But I have my headset in my ears and I am listening to Peter Gabriel’s Passion album and I am smiling to the snoring in the background. This album first came out in 1990 and I listened to the cassette then. I was not doing well with my father’s illness. I had a cassette walkman and would lie in the dark, listening to Passion. This time was before I had lived outside of Sacramento, before I had left the country, before I met El Roncador. In those days, it was escapism. two years ago, I listened to it to help me with the labor of Lemon. Tonight, it is to drown out the sound of snoring. To me, this is a sign of a simpler, better life.