The basic principle of meditation is sitting quietly and doing nothing.
What about the Bhagavad Gita? I asked, trying to be cool and funny. Of course all I wanted to do was kiss her.
It does not matter.
What about humming, the Beach Boys and all that crap?
She laughed, but in a nice way.
It's not necessary.
Later we did make out a little and I dropped acid but all that and the Carly Simon's Greatest Hits album that we listened to is ancillary.
I remembered this now. She had also said,
It’s good to try to think of a place where you were happy.
Our building’s yard abuts the Henry Hudson Parkway, so I listened to the cars as they passed on their ways home from the long weekend in the country and I thought of the park where we all played as children in New Jersey, where cousin Hamilton’s son had gotten ahold of the gun. Here I was actually able to take off the gun outside the apartment for the first time since the initial Yankee stadium episode.
It was dark and I had a shopping bag so I put the gun and holster in there to hide it from passersby. I was conscious of the fact that I was doing this as much out of shame as from any desire to be secretive or concealing. Not to mention finally that I am a lawyer after all and all of this indicated how far from reality I had flown. For this is New York City after all even in Riverdale near 231st St. and unless I shot someone I didn’t think anyone would say too much. Surely though they would watch and judge, which bugged me more.
Above my head the wind swept through the leaves of the trees. An hour before in our apartment I had emptied all of my pills into the bag. I checked the pockets of all of my suits, sport jackets and trousers, even the front breast pockets of my shirts, for little foil packets, and for strays, for others stashed in plastic or metal aspirin, cough drop and mint containers. I emptied out the messenger bag where I carry my iPad. It has so many little pockets.
Alice bought it for me from a company out of San Francisco when the vintage Globe Canvas bag from my actual messenger days became too cracked and worn to carry. It really was not appropriate for work anyway. She was always doing nice things for me. It only made me angry these things because at the time I thought she did them because she really did not love me, that she was preparing the ground for getting rid of me completely and finally.
It was the hour of gloaming and as the last of the sunlight receded from the atmosphere it was still possible to smell the heat on the new green summer grass, on the dirt and on my own skin.
The park in Jersey abuts Route 3, the main travel/commuter route into the Lincoln tunnel and when we were kids we would gape at the Empire Building from there and it made our ball-field special, like it really was the Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park that we pretended it to be in our ballgames. In my meditation practice I did not try to clear my mind of all the crap in it, rather whenever I realized I had stopped thinking of this park where we were once so happy as children, I rebooted my thoughts to it.
Someone had their car window open as they passed and I heard snatches of the Beach Boys song, Don’t Worry Baby and I remembered how we listened to it on my dad’s Hi-Fi and it was one of the things that the whole family did together. I felt okay about it. I felt okay about everything.
I don’t remember going upstairs to our apartment, but I do remember listening to the message afforded me by the red beeping phone machine. It was from Alice. She put each of the kids on to say they missed me and she did too and at the end she said,
I love you and
I heard her voice crack a little.
My heart quaked in my chest
I checked my email and found a message from a writer and AA named Steve G. He was nice and had just published a book which made him hard to take. He was still in the all excited about everything stage. I had been so crushed by the whole thing when my deal blew up that his bubbly enthusiasm made me cringe.
On the message he recounted how he had heard the conversation I had with Tom at the big meeting. He said we could go through the steps in a month or two depending on how hard I wanted to work. My first thought was, This guy has a lot of gall. My second thought was that I desperately needed Steve’s help. Then for a moment I felt hope. Even when I looked around the apartment and saw the few toys of our kids left strewn in their sweet rooms.
Could we start next Monday? he asked.
Little did I know how perfect his timing would be. I could not sleep so I sat down and meditated on the couch for another hour or so. Which was when I realized I had left the paper shopping bag in the park.