After several nights of sleeping in the living room where it’s cooler, this morning the rain came softly. Sheer gray skies and quiet dribbling, just enough to set the mood. All those hot-as-hell days took their claws out of me and headed off to wherever hot-as-hell days go.
The return of the house to its quiet state is a revelation. No matter how quiet a guest is—and Papá was plenty quiet—their presence changes something, their human presence. It’s a vibration. You always know. In the meantime, there was the heat. We didn’t dare to cook, and if you’re going to eat cold food, you might as well do it right. I sliced Art-Is-In rolls, folded up lunch meat to make it feel more substantial, layered tapenade and garlic spread and onion. Tiny glasses of Le Baladin. Remember this when it’s so cold inside that you can’t believe human beings ever settled here voluntarily.
And then there is the world, which keeps doing what it does, reminding me that this house is an island of serenity. That I could wish for plates of food like this for starving Somalians and for love and security for the alone and addicted. (And those of you who know my story know how I feel about addictions and addicts and oh, everything.) At a certain point, you accept that your pain and your empathy can only do so much, but it does count. It keeps you human. It keeps me sensitive to the vibration that signals the presence of other people, reminds me that I share the world outside of this little house. Even hearing some jocular “How about that heat, eh?” reminds me. We’re all in this together, and remembering that would heal a lot.