I’ve left Mr. P beneath the covers, with a candle on.  He came home early on Friday, saying we had to come up with one ritual a weekend.  It’s this thing we want to do-infuse our lives with rituals.  We both know that rituals involve candles.  I wanted a bath, together, in the darkness, with a candle, and bubbles, and incense and touching—lots of touching.  But instead, in the middle of our lovemaking he stopped to light a candle.  And now the flame is making love to Mr. P’s turquoise blue walls—they are shadow dancing together.

He in his nap.  And I in the kitchen—white with mud green accents.  He told me this morning what he’d like to do with the kitchen.  Put in wood cabinets with glass doors, paint the beige refrigerator white, and replace the beige countertop with tiles, the little ones.  The gas range would be replaced by another older one “with more character.”  You see, in Mr. P’s eyes, some things in this world have character and some don’t.

I wonder how much character I have.

Mr. P said last week that he’d come to the realization that all I wanted was some consideration.  Consideration with breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I’ve bought myself three sets of antique salt and pepper shakers, placed them on the table, and filled them with the following:  consideration, admiration, unconditional love, respect, and hugs and kisses.  Please pass me some kisses darling.

I store these shakers on top of the chest of drawers that I have claimed for the menagerie, the trinkets, character items, ritual enhancers.  There are stones with holes in them, from Bolinas, and a couple of tiny shells gathered early on in my life with Mr. P.  A silver box with an Eskimo Pie Girl on it—my first and foremost present from Mr. P.  This present always makes me happy sad, and I wonder if it is a good thing to collect items with so much character.  Do they pin me, like silver thumbtacks, to samsara?

I had a tarot card reading the other day, in the old lofty Victorian next door.  First card was the seven of cups—Rebecca at the well.  Last card was the devil.  The man who did my reading has a bipolar disorder.  His girlfriend, who performed a “Sacred Path” reading on me, is also a manic depressive.  I told them I was trying to bring ritual into my life.  They smiled (the smile of those on very good prescription mood modifiers) and led me to their altar.  In the midst of old socks, dirty dishes and magazines was a small wooden table with incense and matches and herbs in little bundles and . . . candles.  They lit the candles and incense and sprinkled yarrow on top.  N is a fool for burning yarrow.  We each pulled up a big black vinyl easy chair and curled up with a cup of hot coffee.  Although the morning still slept in mist outside, light streamed through the curtains.  That is of course what light is best at—streaming.  But if you prefer, I shall say that the light cavorted or gamboled or frisked or capered through that very tall window in that very tall room in that very tall house whilst we enjoyed our ritual.

This too is a ritual, this sitting alone at odd hours.  I remember Mr. P walking out of his bedroom in the small hours of the morning finding me nestled in his robe on the couch.  “What are you doing?”  “Writing.”  “ Ah yes.  That is what writers do, isn’t it.”  He knows.  He has the most wonderful smile—it is beyond description.  It is a delighted smile; a gregarious “Hello” smile.  That morning, I had written him a letter.

After hearing the letter, and smiling, he placed himself in his big easy chair and read me a poem—something incredibly beautiful and wonderful about winter.  All the men I’ve loved have read to me.  They are the father who was never there for me.  Reading me a story and holding me and loving me.  A ritual of love is all that anybody wants or needs.


© Eskimo Pie Girl