I’ve been reading this book lately by Harry Bernstein. He lived in Europe during World War I in a community of Jews and Christians living in waving distance from each other. I’ve been reading his memoir, Golden Willow. He recaps coming to America, talks about meeting his wife, Polish-born, coming to America as well. They experience this total American dream we used to be told about when we were younger, as Americans. They have this incredible lifetime of love, and all of it leads Bernstein to becoming a published writer in his 90’s. He passed away in 2011, but he said something along the lines before he died that it’s never too late to become published.
He and his wife Ruby came home one night in the 50’s from an evening of political chaos and catastrophe surrounding Paul Robeson. They attended this event with their friends, unaware that by attending, they appeared to be supporters of communists. They came home and watched their children sleep and then stood in the hallway and wrapped their arms around each other and simply stood there for minutes upon minutes enjoying life. The best part of the evening, was being together.
It made me think. What would it take for me, to enjoy my own life?
I often feel so frustrated because of time and death and death and time and how much control I really do not have. I don’t have enough time off from work to be with the man I love, nor does he have enough time to be with me. Life is short, and although I am a professed Christian and have been saved for more than a few minutes, I have my own doubts about heaven. I’m not so sure when I get there, I will see Justin at all. Or that he will even recognize me. Or that we will mean anything to each other.
That terrifies me. It makes me cry.
Our neighbor John passed away this week. Such a nice man. At social events our apartment hosts, John is the person go to because we know him. He has a dolly he lets us borrow to take our heavy garbage out. He’s brought us donuts in the past. My mom has taken him beer, and spaghetti. He’s a nice man. I come home from work and have to run down a little flight of cement steps to get to my apartment, and John’s is right there by the steps. I always see him watching TV through the blinds.
He had a stroke. Now we don’t know anyone. Except the people who live above us who vacuum at midnight and never smile. John smiled often.
Justin thinks I should be writing. He says if I can write it out, I’ll be okay. Or rather, I say that. But I think he agrees. He says I should work to write part-time and do my optical businesses part time. I think Justin sees the things I do not see.
Do you know anyone like that?