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8:19 p.m. - March 29, 2005
Iter maximus
I hope P[deleted]m's mother came through surgery well, though something tells me she may not have. Pre-op, the odds were against this in-frailest-health octogenarian. Right after Easter services P[deleted]m called, implored and begged that I go to the hospital to interpret - the agency had told her they were trying but couldn't locate anyone - and so I went. P[deleted]m sounded broken and worn out, two conditions I would have sworn she was impervious to, and the tone of her voice bade me come. Spent 10 hours with P[deleted]m and her mother Sunday, then another long session yesterday. I am glad I could be there for both of them, making small talk, making her more comfortable, using the old signs that lay half-forgotten and making her smile. This old woman's frailty drew out her nobility, a reassuring certainty that whether successful or not, she has lived a good life: Her children, as she said, have lives better than her own had been, and her grandchildren's lives better than their parents. When she woke and smiled weakly, she'd say it's time, wink, and then Not yet, it seems!, asked me why I was not married with a family of my own, mentioned she hoped her illness was not taking away time from my family. I reassured her there was no need to worry, and there wasn't. During Easter services I felt a little down knowing I would be alone, wished momentarily my family were not Jewish and could nominally celebrate with a get-together and brunch or dinner. Holidays - both Jewish and Christian - are a double-whammy of alienation and loneliness, even when I spend it with people: Forever an outsider, an apostate-renegade Jew, a Christian whose faith in Christ goes beyond contemporary Jesus-lite. And so I dreaded being alone when P[deleted]m called and as it turned out, I wasn't alone at all on Easter, had an intimate living sermon on life, death, and the important things to hold onto with a passion and the things one should let go.

These thoughts amplified this afternoon, when Kim and I went out to lunch and talked about how I push people away, discouraging attempts to get to know me beyond the superficial level. She can say it like it is and I'm not bothered, in fact I look forward to our conversations when hoping for some grounding. Endless reiterations of my up-pledges: Loosen up, open up, lighten up, but I almost, so almost, took the coming out jump with her. Tell Kim, who's on the executive council of my conservative, right wing (roll eyes) church, that I'm gay? You bet - but I didn't, lost my nerve. I think she knew what I was going to say, but I want to say it openly. One day. So to lighten up a bit, I'm meeting Alex (finally).

I wish I could be close to people, emotionally, physically, sexually, could show all of me and not be afraid of something. As I've told Maya - unsuccessfully, I add - I just don't know how to relate to people the way I'd like to. But this is an excuse, albeit a convenient fall-back. Things are looking up. I resist the urge to add for now.


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