Saturday, January 16, 2016
A chill, foggy morning here. Forget April, Mr. Eliot; January, when it reinforces one's prevailing state of mind, can be the cruelest month. And still February to get through.
We're sad, I'm sad to say, here. From Cairo yesterday came the word, not unexpected but no less hard, that Mr. Muscato's mother has died. She has been ill for years, and worse, far from happy, immobilized by a stroke and plagued by illnesses and large and small, immured in the house of a dutiful but sometimes grudging son and his wholly unsympathetic wife. I hope that now she's on her Trip to Bountiful.
She slept and didn't wake, a good way to go I've always thought, and once the fresh pain dulls, perhaps the Mister will take some comfort in the calm and painlessness with which she slipped away. She had a great heart and a joyous spirit, and my husband, her youngest son, was the jewel in her maternal crown, beloved and cossetted and, at last and infinitely unwillingly, allowed to escape the nest and go so far away. He was with her last fall, which is a blessing.
Of some things, of course, in Egypt, one doesn't speak. I was officially just The Foreigner, an enigmatic friend who turned up now and then, but I think she had me figured out. She was, like many Egyptian ladies of her kind and age, a great reader of coffee grounds, a diviner of secrets; she read mine once, and gave me such a look. Still, she pressed my hands as we parted, blessed me on our way. And she was such a cook, and when she wanted to be a wicked old thing, with a laugh as broad and rolling as the Nile.
Meanwhile, in Florida, my own father's life is drifting toward its close. We've not, to put it mildly, been close in many years, but I hope his going is equally merciful. My Dear Sister is in attendance, reporting dutifully, but for me the great sadness when he goes will be how little sadness I feel. I know that sounds hard and unkind, but it's simply the way it is, something one learns to, if not accept, at least accommodate. There are people in the world with whom one simply has no resonance, no way to connect; more rarely, those people turn out to be someone who should be among your very closest. The human heart is a complicated, enigmatic thing, and I have as many problems with its metaphorical as with its actual iteration.
So all this week's sorrows - the vanishing of well-liked stars, the horror-show of our benighted politics, the rumblings of worse to come in far corners of the earth - all serve to bring us down. I think I'll roast a chicken, comfort my poor darling, and brood a while.