from the effort of loving to the making of bread

I’d walked out with dinner plates still dirty and left it all behind. My husband either would do the washing up or he wouldn’t but I couldn’t spend another minute in the house for this or that reason. I’d spent a large part of the day cooking: homemade rolls and slow-roasted orange pulled pork; a coleslaw with green apple and a pineapple marmalade upside down cake with cold cream to pour on top, and that was just dinner, not even what I made for breakfast and lunch.

The bread: satisfying. Handling dough, the mixing and oiling and steam-bath and fashioning and glazing and baking, wiping down traces of flour off the counter and the mixer. A lot of love into a simple food that many take for granted.

Now, though, it’s cold outside and I’m glad I don’t have to wait for the bus more than about eight minutes. I buy a punch pass from the driver as soon as I step on board, before I can think about it being twenty dollars and we have four more days until payday. The pass has a gold-leaf little bit embossed so people can’t fraud one. I zip up my coat and sit mid-way back. Riding the bus in the later hours is quite pleasant , although I need to really know when to catch one though, as they are few and far between and I don’t want to get stuck in Crackton, Aberdeen in this kind of cold. The interior lights are red and low and there are only a few passengers and they’re not rowdy. Like I said, quite pleasant, not as loud or as odorous as day trips.

I look up at the signs I’ve seen most my life up above the windows. “If You’ve Found This Number, Give Yourself A Break And Call”, followed by the phone contact for Narcotics Anonymous. I feel this little thrill sitting there, wondering how many people have happened on that sign and felt the familiar flutter in their gut and an accusatory jab, then cut their eyes away and tried to blot out their intolerable reality a bit longer.

We head up the hill to the hospital and back down with no one getting off or on. I was up at the hospital earlier; a friend gave me a ride to see another friend who was suffering internal bleeding. I flick my eyes up to the second floor and say a little prayer. Later in the afternoon, after our visit, I’d gone out with the ill friend’s wife and we ran our dogs at the bay. Two Bassett hounds and my Hutch, two hundred pounds of dog, and Hutch was in the lead being awesome!

I’m thinking though while I text and wait for my stop, I want for nothing. Both cars broke but one’s in the shop at least and hopefully it’s something we can fix, and the fact my husband isn’t upset about any of this helps me a great deal. I don’t want anything, not really, I am content with things the way they are. I’m happy to get more blessings but I’m okay if for a day or two things are tough. I was thinking maybe I’d want to take the family on a sunny vacation somewhere and you could even get a credit card for that sort of thing maybe? Even this option is something open to me, something we probably won’t do, but who knows, maybe we could do it. I’m okay with my thoughts accompanying me against the damp, cold glass, and my mind doesn’t hang on or cling or run neither.

the final form of love

(potential trigger warning as this post contains info about a hate crime/murder case)

A while back I viewed a documentary regarding the murder of a transgender woman (the Wikipedia article regarding the victim is – horrid, so I won’t link here). The movie was mostly about the “gay panic defense” and its implications in assault or fatal crimes against trans* people (talk about dehumanizing). Three men were brought to trial for this murder. During the course of trial, mistrial, and appeal two of these men appeared overcome with genuine remorse as the proceedings unfolded. Of the three there was one man who never expressed any such thing as far as I could tell. He remained remained remote and, to project my own reading, defiant to the end of the process – or at least the end of the documentary.

I don’t remember any of the pleas nor the severity of the charges against each man (I only know they were not all the same). Besides a lot of lawyers and legal people, the movie also showed a great deal of footage and interviews with the family of the murdered young woman. As can happen in these cases, the mother of the murdered woman became a huge legal advocate and has gone on to do so much for the law with regards to these cases and the horrid gay panic / trans panic defense. So, during this film one got to watch the mother grow, too. Despite her incredible strength and all that she learned, at the end of the documentary she expressed she was willing to meet with and talk to the two young men who’d expressed remorse and sorrow. She wasn’t willing to meet with the one who had not. Not that he had asked, as far as I know.

I found myself thinking about this a lot. Did the mother only find herself able to forgive those who expressed remorse? Or did she come to forgive the third man after the shock of the disappointing legal proceedings lessened?

Some people don’t forgive no matter what the offending party does or doesn’t do. Is it easier to forgive when there is some remorse expressed or a public record? Is it only possible to forgive if someone has apologized sincerely or well enough? Or if they’ve been incarcerated, punished, or killed in proportion to their crime or offense?

I don’t think so. I think forgiveness lies within our own power. I think it is accessible to every human being. We have to believe it is possible. We have to want it. Unfortunately, I think the latter needs to come before the former. That is why so many do not forgive. They do not have proof before they commit. Most importantly, they are not able to see, or willing to admit, how sick their unforgiveness makes them.

I know forgiveness is possible because I’ve seen other people do it under the most extraordinary circumstances.

I have been thinking of writing a book about forgiveness. It would be an independently punished work – of course. I see and hear a great deal about it every day and the subject is an immense one. I wouldn’t be able to write from any kind of professional perspective whatsoever, nor a religious or a scientific one. Usually when I start to go down the list of types-of-experts I am NOT, I start to think, “why should I even write about it?” And you may find this ridiculous, but I worry about trying to write about forgiveness. I worry that it smacks of pride to think I have anything worth saying – and that I will be punished somehow by having something horrible happen to someone I love. I can’t help it; I am to a degree superstitious.

Regardless I remain intrigued and think about forgiveness daily, lately. I am an expert on only one thing: my life’s experiences. I would like to help people if at all possible.