August 19, 2007

Full Circle

Today, I found myself at the local nail salon for a pedicure.

I should have been working, but I'd handled all of the emergencies and I just couldn't motivate myself to start handling the things that hadn't yet become emergencies. They will evolve, of course. I can see the emergency cloud formation and the storm it promises to bring this week. I know the names of the clients whose emergencies are brewing, and I like them, I feel for them, and I will likely sacrifice sleep or relaxation on their behalf in the midst of the storm.

But, the storm is not yet here.

So, I did what any self-respecting woman with a serious case of procrastination and an even more serious case of runner's toes would do (the flip-flop display of toes I made at the Fairfield tomato festival was sub-par). I closed my email, I pulled out my home todo list to evaluate what I could do outside of work, I poured myself a glass of wine, and I called the salon.

When they said they could take me on short notice, I took it as an omen. E offered to put my half-glass of white wine in the fridge, while I drove the mile to the salon. For the next 45 minutes, I sat in one of the highest tech chairs in the world and let it massage me while Linda worked on my feet. I wrote thank you notes for birthday presents, which was a task that had been hanging over my head. The difficulties of my life slowly dissolved into the tub of hot water and the machinery behind my back and under my legs. Those few annoyances that stayed with me were massaged away by skillful strokes on my calf muscles.

In short, I indulged and now we (both myself and my newly periwinkle toes) are more prepared for the coming week than we would have otherwise been.

As my feet were drying I considered whether I should return to the house to do more work or just call it a day. On the work side were the emergencies growing. But team relaxo had the ingredients for chilled avocado soup just begging to be made and the reality that not a single email had arrived on my PDA during my hour at the salon despite several I had sent out in the hours prior.

As I debated my decision, I couldn't help but overhear the two women at the drying station near me.

He's in a better place now. No pain. No sickness. You can miss him, but he's not hurting. Which is good.


I know. And you know he wants to be there. I think they get to decide. I think my mother made a choice to go. They told her my sister died. I didn't want them to, but they did. And then, she changed. Before that, she told me she'd seen the light but that it wasn't her time. That the light didn't have any sorrow or pain or separation. And that when it was her time it would be nice. And I swear, when she found out about my sister, she just wanted that light. She was tired. And she deserved a place with no pain.

I couldn't help but think of a similar trip I made to a salon , almost exactly a year ago, under unfortunately similar circumstances.

There is something comforting about a pedicure. Like Jesus in the parable, the esthetician lovingly washes your feet, plus, they clean your nails and massage your muscles.

I think I needed to see and hear those women today. They reminded me how far I've come and how much less I hurt when I think of Dad, but how many other stresses and slight annoyances I've acquired since I was so singly focused on the sharp pain of his sickness and eventual death, which was all that mattered at the time. Their discussion today was so open and yet so oblivious. At one point, one of them literally stared through me and didn't hear a question I posed to her as she reached over me to claim her shoes. She was raw. She needed care.

They were in a place of pain similar to the one I know I was in, where I didn't realize how much my humanity imposed upon the room and furthermore how much that humanity makes people want to make it easier on you. I wanted to reach out to these women. To comfort them. I loved them for their sorrow and their desire to comfort themselves in one of the ways that I had chosen. And yet, I remembered the need to be alone. So I did not speak to them. Instead, I silently thanked the cosmos for the luck of running into them and the reminder that life goes on and comes in many flavors.

We, us humans, are more alike than we realize. And we all deserve to indulge and take care of ourselves, no matter what the situation.

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