Hitching a ride, trusting a partner, marrying the same person three times
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My husband had been sick long enough, a string of years, that I’d begun to think of his diagnosis as a rumor. He was interminably terminally ill. Until he wasn’t.
It was true what Mrs. Berry said: no one expected to see an old woman in a muscle car, a red and black Mustang convertible with a scooped hood and an engine that ran with a throaty hum.
There was a value placed on listening as closely as possible to the mysterious silence that supports existence, which is both the actual silence of the desert landscape and the silence of the self in contemplation.
A certain brother went to Abbot Moses and asked him for a good word. And the elder said to him: Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.
Maybe I write because I want visibility and invisibility, each on my own terms. I want you to accept these paragraphs as photographs from my mind, and I want these photographs to tell you something useful about me. Yet I don’t want you to see me.
But then I accidentally bite into one of the sour, acrid parts of quarantine. It’s easy to forget, when you live four hundred miles away, that your mother’s temper can be sparked by something as benign as family movie night or a run-in with the Hertz rental-car dealership.
After this friend left, I excused myself to go to the bathroom, where I shut the door and fell to my knees, shaking and crying. I wished that my brother had been different. And I wished that I had been more forgiving and compassionate. I wished that everything between us had been different. I was on that floor for a while.
Which of us has never broken a law? / I died for you — a desperate extravagance, even for me. / If you can’t be merciful, at least be bold.
Below me the world turned slowly through the night, unaware of the multilayered geopolitics my coffee-jangled brain was imposing upon it. I could find reasons to forgive Judaism and Islam their present-day sins. Christianity was another matter.
Maryam: And then the soldiers — oh, the soldiers. I’d take my time with them. I’d do to them everything they did to you. Maybe I’d leave one or two alive so they could learn how life can be a long nightmare.
Yeshua: I tried to make people see that all we have to do is turn around, leave that whining precious self behind, let it go and see the wholeness of God’s Name, but people want magic and miracles and kings—