MORNING COFFEE 24 - pleasings

By Susan Weber

In our twilight years, we settled on a ritual at dinnertime. One or both of us prepared the meal, we dined, and he washed the dishes. Once in awhile he'd be busy so I'd wash up, thinking to spare him the bother. I'd find him looking at my fait accompli, feathers lightly ruffled. One day I heard him tell our grown son the satisfaction he felt when washing dishes. The warm water soothed him, as did the sound of it. The analysis required of him at work had no place in the straightforward cleaning of pots and pans. A chore for me was his rejuvenation.

I feel this way about making up beds, warmth from the dryer clinging to the sheets. I like making soft nests for tired bodies I hold dear. There’s a rhythm to its usefulness. If my companion stepped in to help, I might be less forbearing than he’s been with my encroachments.

Last night, heading home from another long day fighting cancer, I stopped at the light where Cornell crosses Murray Hill. Small icicles sparkled above me, framing the gold disc and then the crimson one promising green. Years ago as a nursing student I lived nearby, rounding this bend to the hospital day by day. One afternoon I happened upon a grad student on a bicycle, his hands wrapping well-worn handlebars. One leg stretched to the sidewalk, the other rocked the pedal. He was an amazement of fitness poised for flight. But when the light changed, he didn't lift off. We talked as long as either of us came up with words to keep us there. And then, with the bluest of eyes, he invited me to swim.

A chance encounter with the man who adores washing dishes, and sleeps in the beds I make.

Photo by Dr. Marcus Gossler CC BY-SA 3.0