When you can’t give it up

I was all Visible Eyelashes and Big Hair for the first quarter of giving it up, but if you looked back and couldn’t find me, what happened was, my eyelashes lost their grip. My hair got wet, my team was sleeping, and I dropped the pom pom’s because my hands got busy stripping off the uniform and turning the knob of a hot shower to remove all residue of trying to give it up. I moved from there like drainage, into a pool of exactly where I was and where I wanted to be.

So, I haven’t been that successful.

Then, like taps played too early in the morning: “THERE IS ONLY ONE THING TO DO, AND THAT IS, GET THE WINDOWS AND DOORS OPEN. THIS KIND OF THING HAPPENS ONLY IN THE DARK. LET THE LIGHT IN.” This is the cheerleader talking, because she is goddamned pushy. My son thinks he doesn’t know how I make him feel. I know exactly how I make him feel.

I wish she would shut up and leave me alone, but a week ago, I started marking off the days with a sharpie on the back of a business card, which is the longest I have gone so far. No, I don’t feel better for it, but unfortunately it is has made a difference to count. Tally marks prove I won a distance. Which is what I don’t want, but there it is. And distance gives perspective. Like when they tell you if you can’t get the answer on a test, “Come back to it. Give yourself some distance.” And they are right.

It can come to you.

I am nowhere obvious except not where I was and the cheerleader is on a warpath, playing movies of what used to make me happy. Yesterday I bought a cauliflower. There is nothing so soothing as a velvety cauliflower soup. It gives your hands something to do other than strip down.

Saute an onion, a few legs of celery, a well rinsed leek, a few fresh sage leaves (make sure they hit the bottom of the pot in plenty of fat to prevent them from going black) a few thyme sprigs, a few parsley stems, a peperoncino, two fat garlic cloves with the peels smashed off, in olive oil and butter, with a good pinch of salt and a grind of freshly ground black pepper. The pepper is important in this. Cauliflower needs pepper. Peel and chop a Yukon gold and add that. After five or six minutes, stirring when it sticks, add enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring it to a boil. Add the cauliflower, broken into flowerets. Add more water, to come just below the cauliflower. You can always add more at the very end. Taste the water for salt, and add another stream of olive oil. Cook covered, until the cauliflower and potatoes are tender. Remove the herbs. If you want, tie them with cotton string before you put them in, to make it easier to get out. Let the soup sit for a minute to calm down. Puree in batches in the blender, being careful to remember not to fill the blender more than halfway, each time. Taste again for salt, pepper, and olive oil or butter.

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