Give and Take

[Exercise: What’s in front of your face?]

I’m at a large, wooden, square table—the one we use to host dinner parties. We often sit at this table to do our creative work. Jeffrey is seated caddy-corner to me, both of us typing away on our Macs. He has a serious look on his face, the kind he sometimes gets when he’s doing his “serious” writing. I think he enjoys creative writing more. Two books by Emanuel Swedenborg serve as paperweights for my book on writing memoir by Natalie Goldberg, holding open the page I’m currently reading. My hardbound dissertation sits at the center of the table (I was using it earlier to reference APA style for Jeffrey’s Book of Oneness, which we hope to send to several publishers this week). A cloth book bag sits on the table, empty, along with a small glass of brandy. I don’t drink often, but every now and then I enjoy the taste of a good brandy. It makes me feel grown up and reminds me of writers, long deceased—smart men smoking pipes, sipping brandy, in their “fancy” clothes with crackling fires in the background—writing whatever stirs them. I’m not so glamorous in my pajamas. Directly in front of me is a framed picture from Columbia given to Jeff by one of his Spanish teachers. It’s an image of a colorful fish, sewn on cloth. It’s unique and pretty, otherwise I wouldn’t have taken the time to frame and display the gift in our dining room. I’m particular about my space—an outward manifestation of my inner life that I like to reinvent and rearrange, often, to reflect my growth and development. Earlier this week I moved my office, again, for the fourth time in less than a year. “Again?” was all my husband could say. He wasn’t waiting for my response—he knows me well enough. At least I’ve curbed my out-of-control spending habits that were typical when we met. I’m much more careful about our resources now. Give and take. I’ve learned that in this relationship. I used to do whatever the hell I wanted. Now I know how to move towards someone. I’ve learned balance, thank goodness.