Letting Go With Both Hands


The off-centre, in-between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don’t get caught and we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit. It’s a very tender, nonaggressive, open-ended state of affairs.
-Pema Chodron

My hands are bereft: they long to chop shallots, deglaze a pan with wine, caress dough with both hands.

it’s been three weeks since I broke my wrist in a skating accident in Montreal.

I haven’t cooked a stew in all that time, haven’t roasted chicken or whipped up a risotto, haven’t I baked the cornmeal cake I’ve been craving.

I now realize how much cooking is a song I sing to myself when the day has been long and hard, or even when it hasn’t. Cooking is of the body, in so many ways. Cooking is in the hands, to be sure: in my own hands that have tamed unruly sauces, creamed sugar and flour into pale softness; hands that have nurtured friends and lovers, that have nurtured my own self.

But cooking is also of the mouth, of the eyes, and of the soul.

Cooking is speech: a lexicon, a mother tongue, a language more literal than love.

Still, I have been fed.

Last week , The Gay School Teacher came over and chopped vegetables for me. Together we made a quiche full of bone healing ingredients: eggs, milk, brocolli and asiago and Swiss cheese. I ate that quiche for lunch all week – it kept me from panicking in the mornings when just getting dressed, let alone making lunch, took all the time I had. Gay School Teacher took out my garbage, put fresh sheets on my bed. It was intimate, almost embarrassing. But as he left, he said to me, That. Was. Nice.

The Librarian bought greens, fruit, nuts and fish, and The Hair Dude delivered them, which allowed me to cook a few healthy meals, rustic though they were. (Everything I manage to cook tastes like someone else prepared it, some earnest vegetarian lesbian from the 70’s). The Film Editor sent me a fancy chocolate bar and a homeopathic remedy. The Queer Baker said she’d bring over dessert if she lived in the same town (oh, for a taste of her poached pear!), and I believe her. The Anti-Poverty Organizer mailed me a one- handed can opener that I have yet to to figure out how to to use, found someone to clean my house, sighs empathetically, ironically, daily, over the phone.

I’ve had to let go. Letting go can be funny, it can be hard, it can be humiliating, tender, embarrassing, enlightening, or humbling – depending.

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