This Post is Super-Awesome

“What the heck are you doing?!” C. called to me. “I’m knitting,” I said. I had come woefully unprepared today, having left my Frogg Togg raingear at home. At the start of the knit, it was dry, overcast and comfortable. About halfway into the session, dark clouds gathered and started dumping rain. I kept thinking “thy will be done” as I watched my blue jeans turn from pale to dark blue. The front of me was getting progressively wetter with each moment. My cheeks wet with rain like tears. The garage door rumbled open, and C. called me over, pulling D’s coat down off a hook for me and fetching a plastic bag for my purse. “Are you going out?” I asked her as I started back towards my bench. “No, I’m saving a knitter,” she said, eyes brimming kindness.
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“I am protected,” I thought to myself as I sat back down on the bench wearing D’s oversized and warm coat. It was a most comforting thought. Immediately, the rain slowed to a drip as if I had gotten the point. In a few seconds, the dripping stopped, and the sun came out. The sky turned blue and boasted fluffy white clouds. How strange this feeling of protection feels to me now as an adult, I thought. Growing up, I felt so unprotected. I constructed a fearless, independent mask to protect myself, and set myself to the task of shielding my baby brother whose sensitivity made him a target. I would sweep him up in my arms, carry him into my bedroom and sit him beside me on my double bed, propped on cushions. Picking up my knitting or crocheting, I would work next to him, talking softly to soothe him as he looked up at me with star blue eyes. The peaceful rhythm of the handiwork would soon have both of us taking deep breaths into our bellies, making the chaos seem far, far away.
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After my knit today, I stopped by neighbor’s house to deliver a message. Then I asked if I could use the bathroom but he insisted on cleaning it up first.  And then he asked me if I would stay for tea. I waivered for a moment, knowing that this was the tipping point between business and friendship. I found myself saying yes, and sitting down at the table in his apartment which used to be mine a long time ago before he moved in. He went back into the storage room to look for a new tea cup that had never been used. It was the shape of half an egg, white with pink lotus buds painted on the side. He said that the value of a cup increased in proportion to the thinness of the edges. Holding my porcelain cup up to the window, I could see the sun shining through it. We caught each other up on a year’s worth of adventures, tipping back cupfuls of Phoenix oolong tea that smelled of roses and incense. I don’t see him much at the bench because he is a bit of a hermit, and his bike route doesn’t go past 16th.  But he said that he wanted to live his whole life as a poem which is probably the most beautiful thing anyone has said to me all year…

I finally said goodbye, and began the long walk home.  I’d hitched a ride with a friend to Fairhaven, forgetting that the buses don’t run on Memorial Day…

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