We arrived late in the evening, and the morning-after greeted us with pre-fever ache. You know that feeling when all of your joints hurt and your stomach burns and you know that you're about to fall?
And I took heart. Being physically ill was better than not knowing why everything else hurt. At least it was not a "What the fuck have I done?" morning. At least the zombies and agents of apocalypse left a bite of hope in the fridge for me to chew on. And sadness had moved from the vagueness of my heart to my limbs.
Let muscles tear and bones break, but let me not face the ambiguity of anguish.
The next day, we woke to a full-blown fever. There was comfort in its certainty. But it was Sunday. And we had to serve. It was Sunday, and we were busiest. And that fever made us grin with numb delirium as the impeding forcefulness of the day clamored at our gate.
Hence, before the flood of people and their voices entered our inner sanctum, I reached to him in the silence. I reached to him, my master, who has taught me how to touch and fix without language and logic. I reached to him with my hands and whatever was left of hope between us, because I was drowning, and he was sinking and if we were going to hit rock bottom, we might as well go there together.
And in that desperate grapple for company, we floated up instead.
The fog of fever subsided the moment he let me touch his hand, his forehead, his shoulders. Every inhalation that accompanied our touching, inflated us with life and strength and courage. We felt the fever’s weight lift and float away before falling on the ground, seeping into the forgiving earth. Because my master believes in my hands and what he has taught me, you hear? And we love each other inevitably, you see? And there are things between us that will last through life and death and life again, between master and puny little midget.
And these things, these anchors of the day, do not need names to be felt. Do not need form to be held. They just need space to wedge in before the rush of life. A courageous pause to be acknowledged and embraced and cemented in the backdrop of everything else that will come in crashing.
And with someone beloved, even for just a bit, pauses like that will take us a long way into the evening. Just long enough for us to finish our day’s work and make comfortable our shells in the service of the things that we’re too tired and old to explain.