Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Tuesday Report--the good, the bad, and the ugly

I'm not sure where to say Tuesday started this week. Was it when I woke at 8am with the harsh realization that Ayşe would arrive to clean sometime in the next hour and that my hair was bad-dirty? Or was it at 2am when I rolled my pitiful self into bed after hours of a computer game I'd clung to as cover for a lonely heart? Telling myself it didn't matter, that I could sleep until noon if I wanted.

I love to tell of good, of peace and joy. But after a Monday of Turkish study, fiddly desk work of bill paying and a messed-up internet order (in Turkish), and preparation of the flat for coming guests--ironing, bedmaking, balcony cleaning, and reorganizing the kitchen, once again mystified at how little elves creep in and rearrange cupboards according to their own better ideas...well, Curt finished his Turkish class and we grabbed a quick pide and were home by six. At which time Curt went straight upstairs to his desk without saying a word to me and returned to his play with his photos that had consumed his morning. Not one word spoken until he said goodnight and went to bed.

Ouch. Not that anyone was angry, but neither had we discussed desires for the evening. Nor had we spent more than a few minutes together the entire day. It was like he forgot I existed. I sat on the sofa, tried to read, couldn't concentrate, felt sad, and played on my ipod. Self-pity stalked and I hid from it behind the addictive little shapes that affirmed me with good scores and then dumped me. With the promise that it would go better if I played just once more. I told myself I deserved a night off and a long lie in the morning.

Anyway, I was naked and dripping with tangled wet hair when Ayşe arrived for her day's work. Curt, again lost in his photo editing, made no move. "I hear Ayşe," said I. "Uh," said Curt. "Amm, could you go down and greet her? I'm not dressed." "Hmpf," said the man to his demanding wife, and managed to drag himself from the screen to stomp downstairs. We then worked at our desks in silence for an hour until she was ready to start on our office space. Curt gathered his things, still without a word, and went to the dining room and right back to his project. I brought down the coffee things, did dishes, and simmered. 

"I'm pretty angry with you," the simmer boiled over. "Huh? What? Why?" Curt gradually broke the surface of his deep self-space to gasp his surprise. And we talked. And Curt apologized, and we talked some more. He bore me no ire, but I already knew that. He just sort of forgot he lives with another person and that the stuff of life was getting done by that person while he created and played. It happens from time to time. As does my self-pitying response. I wonder whether our years of living apart and alone have left this scar?
Curt connects deeply with nature, people and prayer through his photography. He shares some of it at

We talked. We hugged, loved, and let it go. I moved to the studio to attack the ironing pile. Normally I keep up with it, but somehow this pile had grown to where I could barely lift it. Clothes, dinner napkins, dish towels, and LOTS of bedding. Christmas music would speed me along. Rose, who lives on her sailboat with her husband, came up to do some sewing. She uses our studio because Brian spends winters tearing apart electronics and other things in their tiny space. A simple work table in our sunny room supports their marital sanity.

Curt, now happy and present and attentive, asked if he could make lunch so that I could stay with my project. "I suppose," said I, uncomfortable with my whine that had led to us to this. Lunch was a chicken curry from a recipe, so off he went. Rose sewed, I ironed. She caught herself singing to a Christmas carol and chuckled. Dinghy cover mended, she put things away for another day and headed back to the marina to lunch with her husband.

I finished the massive pile just as our late lunch was ready. Duvets carefully laid over work tables to avoid a single crease. I thought the curry looked a little strange. More red than curry-yellow. Discovered my dear dyslexic husband had read chile for curry and had used a tablespoon of cayenne. Whew! We enjoyed our meal. Curt's head beaded with sweat, my nose ran, and Ayşe's eyes watered as we all heaped seconds on our plates. She was shocked to learn that Curt had cooked, and duly impressed, even as we laughed together over his spicy mistake. She asked about the light strings on the balcony. Were they for the New Year, which is more and more often celebrated in this part of the world as Americans celebrate Christmas, with lights, decorated trees, Santa Claus, and gifts? No, I told her, but for Noel. Which is different. 

Ayşe inserted herself into the kitchen cleanup while Curt and I together made up the house. All beds with freshly ironed linen and ready for soon-to-come guests. A big job made light in the sharing.

Then back to the now-shiny clean office space where we would work a bit more and then play cards. And talk. Christmas plans. Blog posts. An evening of quiet savored in front of our wood fire. The health of Turkish study, retreat planning, people we love to think about, and prayer. 
New vocabulary. Pick three words and write a sentence, or ten and write a story. 

So there it is. Goodness. Messy uglies. Vulnerability and forgiveness. Life in a community. Life together. 


anne marie avellar said...

You made me tear up Jeri! This year we will celebrate our 30th anniversary and although we are madly in love, there are those days like your Tuesday, where we remember that, although we are bound together, nevertheless we have each been created with our own solitary universe and if we're not careful to foster connection, it can be lonely. But thankfully it can be short-lived, as yours was. :) Hugs!

Jeri Bidinger said...

Awwww, Anne Marie. Life is real, isn't it? Love you!