19 December 2008

Struck by Sleet; The Thaw

There are only two problems with snow. One is that while it's falling, it can turn to sleet. The other is that when it's on the ground, it turns, sooner or later, to slush.

Both happened today, and the latter happened sooner. So the snow that was already graying without melting, and turning to ice, was struck by sleet, which, in some spots, turned into another layer of ice.

So there was no earth covered in a blanket of forgetful snow, as in The Waste Land. There were only freezing and frozen sidewalks being struck by sleet. If you've ever had those pellets of sleet blown into your face by the wind that's turned your umbrella inside-out, you know what today felt like.

On days like this, you go outside only to go someplace else that's indoors. For me, that included lunch with Bruce and registering for the course I plan to take next semester.

Bruce really has seen me change: I had another momentary crush on a waiter and he didn't even acknowledge it, at least not verbally. But I know that he noticed; when you know anybody well enough, you just know, as the some ol' philosopher might say. In this case, that sage could just as easily be Yogi Berra as June Jordan. (Now you know I'll never be a real academician: I've invoked a living white man and a dead black woman!) That waiter, in a cozy little Israeli/Yemeni/Middle Eastern cafe, is one of those people from the Mediterranean who combines a kind of European world-weariness and intelligence that borders on blaseness with the mysterious charm, or the charming mysteriousness, that one expects from a Middle Eastern man.

He was very friendly and animated. Bruce has been to that restaurant before, and he says that waiter never seemed that personable before. He wasn't exactly sullen, Bruce said, but not terribly outgoing either, although he was a good waiter. But, well, that waiter made a good first impression on a woman, albeit one who's probably twice his age. Then again, age is just a number, right. That's what Dominick says, anyway.

If I had to pick the greatest ironies of my life, this has to be one of them. The biggest strain Bruce and I ever had on our friendship came when we were keen on the same woman. Now I have Dominick, and I am giving in (a real hardship) to my attraction to men. Mind you, this isn't the first time in my life I've had a boyfriend or felt what I've been feeling. But now I know--or, I should say, I no longer act as if--it's "a phase." And I am also not fighting against the hatred I used to feel for nearly all other men besides Bruce and a few other friends and relatives.

It took me a long, long time and a lot of therapeutic as well as spiritual work to come to this point in my life. The thaw came; I, who had once been struck by sleet, have been open and exposed to a lot of feelings that were trapped by the layers of ice. Sometimes the places where the ice is melting or gone feel simply raw and painful, and when sleet strikes again, it stings all the more. But at other times, I can feel the wondrousness and wonderfulness of it all: the sleet and the thaw. And the sun, when it returns.

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