Monday, June 1, 2009

The Gift, part 1, or a Confession

This post is dedicated to my dear friend K.

She's an online friend, from at least 5 years back, when we both posted on a parenting-after-40 bulletin board. I've noticed that she's always kept her name private online, so for now I'll address her as K. After corresponding on the boards for a while we took our friendship out of the public forum and began emailing each other privately.

She, my counselor, and my cousin are the trio that encouraged me to think of myself as a writer and to expand beyond private diary musings. My cousin introduced me to blogging and encouraged me to create one; it was K who asked if I had one, saying she'd enjoy reading it.

It's been a pleasure for me to write it.

Last month Sharon was going to be away and miss one of our sessions. I decided to use the time anyway and look into an alternative place to go. I remembered a place that had opened a year ago, The Writer's Dojo. Through Gary I have a bit of an obscure connection to it. Jewel is a woman contracted by Nike to teach Mandarin to the traveling employees, which once-upon-a-time included him. Her husband has a martial arts studio in North Portland. His brother created the Writer's Dojo in a separate building on the property. I decided to look into it. I bought a limited-use membership which entitled me to 4 visits, then a $10 fee per visit.

Ten days ago Gary lost his job, and today construction is to start on our house, building a garage. In 2 weeks the kids are out of school.

Upon return from the misadventure I found a message from K telling me she'd sent a check to cover full, unlimited-use membership for the month of June. She said I'd need it, withLink Gary home full-time, the construction chaos, and the looming kids-at-home-all-day.

Something inside me goes quiet and still whenever I think of that. I don't know what to call it, but gratitude is a start. What an amazing, loving gift.

That, is Something.

I started looking for K's check in the mail last Tuesday. I didn't find it Wednesday, either, or Thurs. I attributed it to the Monday holiday, but was aware it was taking a while, since she'd indicated she'd hurried a bit to get it into the mail ahead of the three-day-weekend. Thursday afternoon Connor came home from school, asking me if I still had his progress-note envelope. Periodically he brings it home for my signature to prove I've been reading his progress notes. I'd found it loose in his pack with a bunch of other papers and asked him if I was supposed to sign it. He said no, and I put it into recycling. Now he said he needed it. Signed.

So I took a bench in to our pantry and sat down before the bins, sifting through. I found a lot of junk mail, some discards from Gary's office ...and, an envelope addressed to me with K on the return address. It was post-marked May 23rd. Gary still swears he never touched it, and I can only guess that it had gotten stuck somehow on the bottom of some of the junk mail he tossed. I never did find Connor's envelope, but I'm glad I went to look for it. I thought of telling K the story, but then decided against it because I'd seem so irresponsible.

Not only had she gifted me a full membership for June, there was enough there to pay most of a reduced membership for July.

Gary and I have a joint account in a credit union I was planning on depositing the funds into, but it's on the side of town where I don't usually go. And now Gary doesn't either. I'd had an idea that maybe I'd get over there on the weekend, and decided to not carry the check with me.

I knew I would be using the Dojo Monday, which would be June 1, the day the membership is due. A branch of our bank that has our funds for day-to-day operations is just down the street from the Dojo, so I thought I'd just deposit it there and write a check on that account. I was in the neighborhood yesterday grocery shopping and stopped by that branch. I walked up to the machine and reached into my wallet for the check...and it wasn't there. Someone else had walked up behind to use the machine, so I went back to my car to mount a search. Went through all the cards and pockets in my wallet. Looked in the body of my purse. Searched my memory. I could see myself in memory having removed her check from the envelope, folded it into quarters, and slipping it into my wallet. Where has my wallet been? Could the check have fallen out into something else (didn't want to think of it falling out NOT into something else)? When I'd driven for the field trip Tuesday to the pool I'd had my wallet in my swim bag--could it be there? Uh, oh, no. I hadn't had the check by then; it was still sojourning in recycle.

What about my computer bag then? Could it be in there? Most likely not; I'd used it Wednesday and hadn't held the check in my hand until Thursday.

Oh shit oh shit.

I pictured myself emailing K, in shame, to tell her she should put a stop on the check. Telling her I was so sorry. Glad I hadn't told her about the recycling episode, because this would really seal my fate of being a screw-up in her eyes.

Then it occurred to me. Maybe I hadn't removed it from the envelope at all. Maybe I'd started to and only thought I remembered it. Maybe I'd put it in the window in the hallway where I keep my sunglasses, grocery store coupons...kind of a mini staging-area for departures. I thought I had a memory of myself, now, doing just that: starting to remove it from the envelope to put in my wallet, deciding against it until I knew I would be going by that bank, putting it, in the envelope, on the sill.

More lighthearted, I went and did the grocery shopping. Looked eagerly on the window sill upon arriving home, and it wasn't there. Crestfallen, I asked Gary if he'd seen it. Maybe it had blown off the sill onto the floor and he'd picked it up and put it in a more secure location? He said, "I haven't touched it. I've never touched it."

Just in case, I checked the swim suit bag. I checked the computer bag. More randomly than anything else I opened a small drawer on a small chest where I keep my computer next to my writing chair. There it was! My memory, better late than never, helpfully supplied the image of myself deciding that the window sill was too vulnerable to cross-breezes, removing it from there and putting it in this little drawer.

Needless to say I deposited it that evening, and wrote a check of my own on it for the Dojo membership, where it resides now, in the Dojo drawer.

Heart-felt thank-you, K. And love.

P.S. K really should keep a blog, herself. She's a wonderful writer.


Lavender Luz said...

K is a generous, beautiful spirit. What a perfect gift to you, to allow you to share yourself with the world. It's also a perfect gift to the world.

You are deserving!

Sheri said...

I hate it when I know FOR SURE where something is and then it's not there. It drives me absolutely crazy!

I'm so glad you found it and will be able to use it. Fabulous!

excavator said...

L.Luz,thank you. That was a beautiful thing to say and for me to receive.

Sheri--the worst is when you JUST SET IT DOWN and then can't find it. That's when I wander aimlessly around the house muttering to myself. I've done stuff like this all my life, but it and I worry that it may accelerate...