4:39am

I know this was the exact time because as MK leaned against me, purring madly and patting my face to wake me up, I reached for the cell phone to check the time. I felt so tired I was sure it was not time yet to get up, and I was right.

And what did she want? She wanted me to get up and sit in the desk chair and witness her having a snack from her very full bowl. Once done, she got back in bed and promptly went to sleep, leaving me wobbling on the chair wondering whether I should go back to bed or go the coffee route. Bed won.

I wonder what it is that drives her to want me to be up when she eats? I get her back during the day by waiting until she tries to subtly use the litter box and then crowing “I seeeeeee yooooouuuuuu!” She is not happy when I do this.

She is between sleeping places right now. Changing from the chair to the cat tree to one side of the bed and then the other. Usually she is more decisive and just changes to a different location one night and there she is for two or three weeks.

I have a million things on my mind – from personal issues in my life, to poetry, to the next video, to Libya, the National Budget and on and on and on – but I had something happen the other day that deserved just as much space and attention as all the analyzing and discourse about the ills and solutions of the world.

I was in my “office” (my term for the café I go work in for hours) when I ran into someone I know, not well, but a passing acquaintance. We did the standard hellos and buried ourselves in our respective laptops.

And then suddenly…there he was kneeling by my chair saying, “Can I tell you something?” And out poured the sweetest story. He had started dating someone new – and mind you, I know enough about him to know he has not had luck in that department – and he really, really liked this person. So much so that when Valentine’s day rolled around he cooked up a plan for the evening: flowers (sunflowers, he remembered a conversation during the first date where they had come up as a favorite), dinner at a small restaurant, drinks at a hole-in-the-wall bar (chosen for character and because it was so different from the usual glossy nightspots they frequented) and the question, “Would you like me to be your boyfriend?”

All this after several months of dating. And the evening went well. And the answer was yes. They are both reserved people and students, while they have managed to see each other a few times a week, there has been no further talk about it. But…the person in question is someone who keeps a blog, and my not-quite-friend was telling me that he discovered (through a little mild facebook stalking) that the person in question had written a post about the Valentine’s Day date.

And my not-quite-friend was scared to read it.

You see, romantic love is where we are the most vulnerable because it is so very different from the all-encompassing universal love, it involves the choice of our embodied being – mind, body and soul – over all others for intimacy and creation on a depth of entwinement that is…why poets have sung of the beloved since the beginning of time. It is, I believe, the closest we may come to the knowing the love of the divine in a way we can understand, hold and experience in our limited waking consciousness. It is…food for the soul and being that goes beyond what we know. Within it lies the hope for healing of the greatest despair in the human life – that of separation from the whole. Being unified on a universal level is one thing, but it does not hold the intimacy and peace of being reunited to that from which there is no secret and every new thing you discover within you is already expected and welcomed.

Even if we did not come with the various baggage and issues we pick up as we move through life, we carry into the beginnings of all intimate relationships the hope for the end of this eternal despair of being separate and unknown. That is weight enough to bring into the boat.

If, in the course of exploring whether an intimate relationship will be able to grow into intimate love, one experiences any form of betrayal (some dramatic and obvious, others – subtle and poisonous) one begins to lose hope for an end to despair. Every new relationship carries slightly less hope. The expectation is one best summed up as “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” And that expectation can poison what may well have become something different, for people tend to rise to our expectations of them – voiced or not – because it is by our expectations of them that we open and close doors that determine how we will allow them to interact with us.

So, my not-quite-friend knelt beside the table in the café and said, “What do I do?”

And I told him to go back to his computer, find the post – but don’t read it – and bring it to me. I would read it and then either tell him what it said or, tell him he should read it. Because blogging is a funny thing. If you blog you get angry if people read things into your blog that aren’t there or think that things apply to them that don’t; and, if you have written directly about or towards a person, you then get angry if they don’t read it or miss that it is about them. This I have come to understand.

He found it and brought it over to me and I read the post.

There are moments in every one’s life, I think, were you read something and feel “my god, I wish I had someone like that to write something like this about in my life” and the whole world and every inch of your life, even your despair, becomes lighter and brighter and joy rains down for a moment, just long enough to encourage your own flowers to grow.

I told him he should read it. It began something like “Today was Valentine’s day and until today, I never realized that I had never celebrated it before the way it is meant to be and never had a true Valentine before; it started with sunflowers…”

I told him he had to find a way to mention that he had read the blog and to also talk about his struggle over reading it. If he didn’t, I cautioned, he would start reading into everything said and it would close down communication.

It has been a long time since I have seen someone glow like that. I watched him as he read, and reread the blog, pulling his hood up over his head the second time through and leaning as close as he could to the screen – as if through it, they could touch.

He looked up once and caught my eye and smiled that small smile that only angels seem to know how to wear.

c.2011 Cassandra Tribe. All Rights Reserved.

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About cassandratribe

"There are few artists that can do what Cassandra Tribe does. Whether with her poetry, her videos or her blog, Cassandra examines the truths that most of us can never come close to realizing and shows it for what it is, both beautiful and frightening at the same time. She exposes our inner-most workings like the cross-section of a powerful but flawed machine, our gears and springs, nuts and bolts removed and laid out before us. She is a true artist. Her new video, Requiem for a God, is the latest example of Cassandra's willingness to tear open and examine the very things that make us human. Shooting the film entirely by herself, she also eliminates all the little excuses we come up with to keep us from ourselves and our truth. You see, even when she's not trying to be, Cassandra Tribe is a beacon of truth and humanity in this darkest of worlds." (Michael E. Quigg, The Culture Network, June 2009)
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