Saturday, September 5, 2009


Well, I'm getting my quiet. I left Lee on Park Avenue today with a kiss and the certainty that we would really miss each other and then turned my life over to an insane cab driver who I told to slow the fuck down or I was going to throw up in his cab as he was driving 70 mph over the Tri-Borough Bridge to LaGuardia in a 40 mph zone. Besides that he almost killed me twice sideswiping cars who, if not for their timely honk, would have ended up embedded in the right side of my body.

But, enough of that.... We've had a great run this summer. We have been together for 5 - 6 weeks now and it has been a delicious interplay of quiet and chaos. I arrived in Minneapolis about an hour ago, walked into an entirely quiet apartment. When I left here 2 weeks ago today to "move" back to NYC for the school year, I could not see the floor of Isabelle's room. She was packing for a year in Spain and I wasn't completely confident the job would get done without her complete collapse. She's an amazing young woman - but I am not sure she knew what it would take to pack for a year - to make the hard decsions - this swimsuit or this one? Do I need the hooded sweater now? It is 95 in Madrid for another month. I jumped in whenever I could, but I was swamped with work and packing for NYC, too. (In the end, she overpacked and it cost her $140 to take her two suitcases on NWA to NYC. We lightened the load for Madrid and it cost her nothing extra.)

So, Lee and I left, wished her well and knew we would see her in NYC in a few days before she flew to Spain. As I have said before, being around Isabelle for me is like being in a hurricane. That is kind of her energy for me. She is very cool, very smart, very insightful and capable and funny. But she kind of demands your attention. It could just be my "mom" thing.

Then, of course, she was off and is fine and found an apartment in Madrid and her head is spinning with speaking only Spanish. We talk on the phone and skype and I have learned to "chat" online. It's just all amazing. She sounds like she is just around the corner. Her only challenge is that she has been a vegetarian since she was five and Spain does not understand that concept - they serve ham (jambon) at every meal. So she is surviving on fruit and bad bread for now. Once she moves into her apartment, she may have more choices, but for now, at the dorm - and in most restaurants, it is ham, ham, ham.

But, then there is still Lee - whom I adore, as I have said many times - and I make yet another center of my universe. I love to feed him and massage his feet and laugh with him and talk with him. So that is what I did for the last couple of days because, like a Beach Boys' song, our summer was coming to an end.

And now I am back in Minneapolis. I open the door to my apartment and there is silence. I can see the floor in Isabelle's room for the first time since last May before she came home from college. The mail is neatly stacked on a table by a friend who used the apartment this week. It is very clean because Dina has come. But it is quiet. There is no one with whom to cook risotto and caprese as I did with Izzy all summer. Lee isn't playing the Eagles or Mozart or Porgy and Bess. Isabelle isn't asking what we're doing for dinner. There is no one to talk to. There are no feet to rub. There is no one watching me in the morning in bed before I open my eyes.

But in Lee's sweetness, he sent me this from his phone and it's all I need to carry me through the next couple of weeks. The irony is that we need quiet to work and think and grow. The irony is that we also need love and friends and family. And often, most often, they don't come in the same package. We have to create the space for it. And, maybe more than create it, we have to trust the space and the renewal it provides and the ways in which that renewel fosters our relationships.

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