Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chapter 33: Selling Hope

After six weeks of writing and writing and happily writing something hit me like a Tsunami. It came over and through me and my life and my thoughts and everything I was holding on to and pulled them away so fast I couldn't even think to grab anything disappearing into the receding sea.

Other people call for help. I lack this gene or disposition or whatever. I turn away, shut the blinds, lock the doors, unplug the phone, deactivate facebook, shutter my blog and cross my arms until I can figure out how this happened to me. Or maybe rather, why I did it.  The way you frame something is so important (thank you Tony Robbins).

In the silent  contemplation that followed the tsunami I cleaned my closet, piling this here, this there.  All the shoes go back up to their show-off spots. The floor is clean, I vacuum, put the vacuum away and then because I don't know what else to do with myself I sit down there under my shirts and dresses. It's cool and quiet in there, and I finally have the place to ask myself what I'm going to do, now that I know what I know.

I knew one thing for sure.  I didn't want to be the woman sitting on her closet floor, so I got up, I got out of there and took a nap outside on the swing,  letting the truth sink in and through me.  I can't tell you how long I sat out there in the quiet, in the dark, staring down lizards and listening for squirrels and not languishing in a pity party.

Then I got more email.  From Cuba.

This happens a lot since my  trip.  You could not have warned me about this. I thought I was going to "see" Cuba; I'm now seeing that it is more. I went to Cuba so I could help piece our shattered family back together.  Every day, every other day, I get sweet emails, unfamiliar in their probing --  how are you? What else is happened? How did this go? How did that turn out? Did you forget about...?

 I can block facebook and turn off twitter and shut down from the world, but I cannot retreat from my family in Cuba that keeps reaching out to me, twisting our families back together like we always should have been.

They ask when I will be going to Florida again to visit my Mom, and I don't bother to sketch in the fact that I live in the capital of Florida.  They don't know this. Who would have told them? Who would have told them the story of the Americas much less about the 50 states and their capitals?

 The more I learn about what a limited view  they have from Cuba, the more I want to help tell stories that will make the world - or even just their day -- seem bigger and more interesting.

Schools is over, yes, I hope to bring the kids to visit my Mom soon.   I mention Zack has an wireless alarm on his door and now I can't bring in clean clothes.

 I toss in a story about Zoe is redecorating her room for the third time this year. I tell them that Zoe's middle school is going to have an amazing cafeteria with all these choices - salad bar, Subway, Chikfila, pizza.  

The next day I get an email with more questions, more love.

This is after the tsunami. My head hurts. I put off responding.

Even in my less-than-perfect state, we have to go to Costco, to Target, to Publix.  One day of running errands became another and then when I finally sat down to write I found myself stuck.

How do I describe Costco to people in Cuba where there isn't enough food? Should I even bother to describe it, or would that just be mean?

So I start to tell them about Tanner, the humongous fuzzy brown tarantula that is camping out with us for a few weeks this summer.

I mention how handsome Tanner is, and that Tanner somehow slipped around this glass partition and ate another spider. I write how we have to go to the pet store to buy grasshoppers or crickets or whatever for Tanner.

The word for the bug translates to esperanza, the same word as hope.

 It looks like I'm telling my Cuban family that I have to go buy hope for a spider, as though capitalism has nuances they can't even begin to grasp.