Nirvana, the sign outside said.
Customers! the woman in the sari called to her staff as we stepped inside. This was no wannabe in a sari. This woman really belonged in a sari, the lonely hostess in a narrow room of empty tables and chairs. Our hearts were instantly broken, and we bored deep into the menu of unpronounceable names and inscrutable descriptions.
We ordered lavishly from the bespectacled man who came around. Her husband? Her father? And wine too, like a desperate blessing, a piddling unguent, to call forth the missing multitude. Before our food came another lost party wandered in. I’d seen them pacing back and forth in front of the window. This is our first time, they tossed the words anxiously into the void like a flimsy raft before jumping in.
Our food arrived on rimmed tin platters, mounds of rice orbited by silvery planets of fragrant sauces, like nothing I’d seen before, out of this world, a savory palette to paint the palate and we were overcome with awe and relief. I dipped a spoon into my bhindi masala and took one taste, then flashed a thumb’s up to the other table. Fantastic, I mouthed exaggeratedly, and they grabbed the rope and ordered it too. And we were then, all five customers and five servers, so effervescently happy to be together, to have spanned the bottomless gap, to be inside the door everyone else had overlooked or hurried past: the door to Nirvana.
This isn’t really the post I’d intended to write but reading it now I see how it must be. These are times that stretch all of our pockets: our hearts, our minds, our hands, our wallets. We have learned that there is no big bailout to save us, only small rescues and tin-rimmed kindnesses. And so I’m hanging a modest stocking here.
These are tough times to give, and tougher yet to ask. As before, I know of women who are waiting for help before they can give themselves a hand. Waiting for the impossible before they can see what is possible. I have a list of mothers who could use an assist to make it to the Mother’s Plunge retreat in Phoenix (heavenly Scottsdale, actually) in January. Perhaps you are one who can give help, or allow yourself to receive it. If you can fund either part or all of a $75 scholarship to the Mother’s Plunge, please contact me privately at kmiller(at)turningwords(dot)com. Likewise, if you need a rope to pull you across the threshold, a little extra help to make it happen, contact me as well. There is a small yet radiantly happy community of us who can attest that miracles happen when and where you least expect it. Everyone who wants to come is shown the way.
I don’t know how that happens, but I thank you, and I bless you.