I love this about Ed: he has never asked me why I blog. Nor has he asked me why I travel to Europe so often, or why I eat oatmeal with fruit for most every breakfast, or why I drink wine with dinner. He himself, of course, does not blog, does not feel compelled to cross the ocean even once a year let alone three or four times, does not eat regular anything and thinks wine is merely perverted grape juice. And yet he never questions any of it, not once, therefore, suggesting that I should maybe try being like him.
It's a rare person who offers that level of acceptance (there are others, but I'm focusing on just him right now).
I have to admit that it was at times unsettling to reciprocate in the same way. During our first trip to France together, back in December of 2005, I was getting ready for the usual evening dinner. I'm not hungry -- he said to me. You eat. I'll sit with you, but I'm just not hungry for dinner. I vaguely recall bursting into tears. Within an hour, he was suggesting that maybe he should take off for a few days on his own. Within two hours, we were friends again. It was not the last time that I wasn't able to resist challenging what he thought was right for him, but over time, these challenges have became rare. Like learning to trust your child with their sorrow, so, too, I would trust Ed to proceed without my interference.
As a result, there are ways in which we accommodate each other that are so uniquely geared to our temperaments that you would truly laugh if I spelled them out here. Words that are spoken, others that are never spoken, a future undefined, a day made unremarkable deliberately, a shirt unwashed, a cat indulged, life lived from day to day without causing pain (so far as one can do that), without taking away from the other the right to shape her, his own idea of what is decent and fair and good.
I was thinking of this when I was driving home from work.
Unlike Ed, Isis has matured by moving toward a newer model of cat-identity, at the same time that he has coaxed me into become more like… Ed. A year ago, if you had told me that I would soon have a cat call the farmhouse 'home' I would have laughed. Isis still eats his cat food at the sheep shed, but as I watch him tonight, following me to the kitchen when I grill brats and cook local (frozen) corn and as I look into his wistful eyes, I know that I have made a fresh and honest cat out of him and that he has made a cat-tolerating woman out of me. (At times, cat-loving. At times.)
It was a gray day. Never mind, I worked through most of it. And though Ed offered to get Chinese takeout, in the end, we ate the turkey brats.