I was doing my absolute best. My hands were clutching my rosary slung around my neck. From an observational point of view, I probably looked like someone choking themselves to death….
But, there I was…in a restaurant…for the first time in six years.
We’re all aware of my agoraphobia. I no longer need to leave Honeychurch. Like a hermetic monk, I rarely leave the property. Everything is delivered. Even my groceries. So, there is no need to leave.
Two weeks ago things went strange for me. I can’t explain it, but Phillip had a very good assessment of what was happening. “You are a freakin’ genius who can touch anything and make it just amazing…You seem to have forgotten how to do that.”
I haven’t made my own money in a while. I’ve not been selling, I should say. I haven’t been promoting the artist that is “Gregory Patrick.” No, I’ve spent my time helping my husband with his insane work schedule. I’ve been decorating the house, doing laundry, washing dishes, planting Widow’s Thrill up along the fence, working with the landlord to put in new windows, here to meet the deliveries, here to be available for anything and everything under the sun…except for myself.
I haven’t taken time for myself. Yes, I’ve been sketching, knitting, writing…but not doing anything with it. I no longer had interest in my own work, which is a really crappy place to be if you’re an artist. So I got depressed and called my mom.
As moms do, she agreed to come down for the weekend to help me work some things out. She had the most interesting condition, though. “Son, if I come down to visit, will you go have a coffee with me someplace, to get you out of the house?”
But, I had someplace else in mind. When she arrived, I asked if we could have lunch at Saigon Noodle just up the block, there on the corner. I’m away from home, but I know my home is only a few feet away. But, there was an even deeper reason for my wanting to go there.
It was the first time I had sat at a table in public in six years. Again, I was clutching my rosary tight, staring at the window, talking to my mother….
The owner of the restaurant came by to check on us, perhaps wondering what this little bald man was doing holding a rosary so tight, so nervous about being in his establishment. So, I told him. “This is the first time I’ve eaten out in six years.”
“Why so long?”
“The reasons aren’t important. What is important is that the whole experience has been wonderful. The food and service have been amazing. Thank you, so much.”
“What made you want to come here?”
“She did. I knew I’d be safe.” And to that I turned to point at their wonderous artwork of the Blessed Mother on the wall.
“Well, of course! She is our Mother!” To that I could only smile and nod….and know that I was where I should be, with my mother, and that all in life would be fine.