Love, Loss and Luck in Gotham City.


batsignalEvening in Gotham City.

No crime spree that we know of yet, but you can never call it quiet in this section of town. Darkish, yes, because here in the Batcave we’re half-underground: enough to let the daylight in, but once yon sun calls it quits, there’s no doubt about it: darkness rises.

Smoke rises, too, and all but one of us does, so the two windows – screenless, natch – are open a crack, whether the weather, so bring thou a sweater (or grab one of the skull-adorned hoodies tossed all over the place) and so, too, the studio tends to have a few more visitors: of the genus Insecta.

Tonight we tried to get Takeshi to summon his Japanese Ninja Warrior Side and decimate a 3-inch Something that strongly resembled a Flying Dragon, but he was deeply involved in summoning his Japanese Zen Peaceful Monk Side, instead.

Also, Takeshi has a new laptop, and the password to my wireless network, so there’s a strong possibility that he was summoning his Japanese Pokémon Cheat Hack side, too. I didn’t look, so I can’t say for sure. As the Zen parable, “The Farmer’s Luck” goes: “Maybe. Maybe not.”

Aris and Psycho Cherry are currently sharing a MacBook, and were therefore IM-ing and DJ-ing at the same time, which was terrific for me, since when they AREN’T here, I’m usually too focused on what I’m doing to remember even to launch my iTunes, despite the icon in the dock of my own MacBookPro staring me right smack in the face.

Really.

No, really.

That peppy little CD with the blue music notes on it, just leers at me, going: “Uh, hello? Musician? Tunes?” Then shakes its digital little head at me, as if I am hopeless.

But when Aris and Psycho Cherry are here, the ambiance changes radically from a simple one-human digital sweatshop to a working party of discussion and delight. My daughters – who refer reverently to my posse as “The Cool People” – love it. Everyone gets magically fed, watered, intellectually stimulated, and entertained.

Those who grace my studio cherish my daughters, too, as mutually as my daughters cherish them: this past week, when my youngest’s much-beloved, much-too-young cat died suddenly, my daughter overheard them laughing in the Batcave as she and I were upstairs, preparing for the backyard funeral.

“Tell them they don’t have to come,” my 10-year-old said, fighting the most recent round of tears. “They sound so happy. I don’t want to make them come to a sad funeral.”

At that point, my own throat started to close.

Of my two daughters, the oldest, would throw herself in front of a train for you if ever you needed it, but from her manner, her bearing and her Dorothy Parker wit, you’d never know it.

My youngest? Her devastating but selfish charm would allow her to skip lightly over your bleeding body and make you want to thank her for it.

Ergo, lump in my throat.

Down with message went I to Batcave.

Up I returned: No way. All for one, one for all.

The ragged gypsy band of us lined up at the back fence grave, my youngest as “chief mourner,” asking only for a moment of silence in Toufou’s honor.

We all took turns trying to console the little one, especially Aris and myself, who have each suffered private losses recently; losses the little one could not yet understand, yet still our freshly-wounded hearts bled for her, our own scars only just beginning to form.

We resonated like tuning forks for her, grief upon grief, vibrations that we knew would lessen with time. Could the little one be made to understand? That time, and thankfulness, were all that ever help, in the end?

Time.

And gratitude.

“Gratitude?” My youngest was totally confused.

“Look around you,” I whispered into her silken, golden brown hair, as she wept into my lap. “Look at all the people who love you. Be thankful, even though right now you can’t be happy.”

“But I want Toufou,” she protested.

“You’ll have Toufou as long as you love and remember her,” I said.

“I can’t see her. I can’t talk to her. I can’t touch her. It’s not enough,” she said.

“Not now,” I said. “But eventually, it will be.”

It will have to be, I thought, my own heart quickening a bit.

“Eventually doesn’t come soon enough.”

“It never does, darling,” I said, “but that’s what Gotham City is here for.”

We fell asleep together for the next few nights on the futon in the Batcave, hanging on to each other, each, alternately mourning, alternately celebrating, the love of each other, basking in the glory of our friendships, the sunshine, the comfort of darkness, and the hope of time.

 

 

The Farmer’s Luck

A Zen Parable

Once there was a farmer whose horse ran away.

All the village came to him: “What terrible luck!” they said.

The farmer calmly said: “Maybe. Maybe not.”

The next day, the horse returned — with another horse.

All the village came to him: “What wonderful luck!” they said.

The farmer calmly said: “Maybe. Maybe not.”

The farmer’s son tried to ride the second horse — and broke his leg.

All the village came to him: “What terrible luck!” they said.

The farmer calmly said: “Maybe. Maybe not.”

The country was at war, and the next day, the army came to collect young men to fight: all but the farmer’s son — whose leg was broken.

All the village came to him: “What wonderful luck!” they said.

The farmer calmly said: “Maybe. Maybe not.”

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