And bread I broke with you was more than bread.
Your hands once touched this table and this silver,
And I have seen your fingers hold this glass.
These things do not remember you, beloved:
And yet your touch upon them will not pass.
— From a poem by Conrad Aiken
This comes from one of my favorite poems. And it would be.
It came to mind today when I joined a friend for lunch at Mr. Wu’s and noticed, for the first time, the large figurine of an child angel standing on the window ledge. She had blonde hair and bare feet, and a garland of rosebuds formed her halo. She looked really happy.
Things are only things, but as Aiken continued to write in his poem, “For it was in my heart you moved among them/and blessed them with your hands and with your eyes/And in my heart they will remember always/They knew you once, O beautiful and wise.”
Ghosts rattle in my cupboards amongst the pots and pans, and memories fill the glasses and plates, each a hallowed Shiloh in a mother’s heart.
It’s so cliche, this notion that chubby people overeat attempting to fill an empty place within themselves with pound cake and pasta. Not me, I have thought.
But maybe so. There is no one simple answer, but certainly I can feel a difference when enjoying a meal in the company of friends. The focus shifts from the food on the table to the folks at the table–and what a difference that makes.
Maybe once you figure out what’s bothering you, it’s a bit like the loose shutter that bangs with the wind in the dark of night. It’s ominous, until you realize that’s all it is. I think they might even call that acceptance, or acknowledgment.
After a swell lunch of chicken breast and asparagus and brown rice I cracked open my fortune cookie and read the good tidings: “Soon, you will receive pleasant news.”
I have no doubt of this. I receive good news every day. It comes in the warmth of a smile, the kindness of a face, the touch of a hand.
And it comes in remembering.
Life is good.