Alternative medicine

Day 29: smidgins of joy

Homemade smidgins of pizza joy

If I cannot manage to continue working, I take a long “siesta” in the late afternoon, when temperatures are generally much hotter than at midday, so that my waking coincides with the sun setting.

Earlier today, I had made pizza, admittedly with not that much cheese, but I don’t know what else to call it. That, and listening to some slam poetry online before my so-called siesta had a wonderful effect on me: I woke up laughing.

For the first time since my beloved died two and a half years ago, I had a spontaneous recollection of a good memory, although it is not one I have thought of almost since it occurred over three decades ago. Let’s just say that it’s not the kind of anecdote that would have gained much traction back then. I do have to tell it now, though, as an aide-memoire, and because of the pizza connection.

So, turn the clock back three decades or so to when I had spent one Friday night at João’s one-bedroom apartment. It was in the heady days of the first six months of our relationship. Suffice it to say that we did not sleep. Instead of going out to the nearby Italian restaurant, we had ordered pizza in and had drunk copious quantities of wine.

João suffered constant headaches, sometimes more intense than others, but the pain was always there. I tell you this to explain why it was that someone was coming to pick her up around 08.30 or 09.00 the next morning to attend a dowsing/radiesthesia workshop on the other side of town.

The homeopathist running the workshop had insisted João attend, for she was fascinated by the intensity of João’s energy (yeah, she wasn’t the only one), and had been unable to discern where, in all that intensity, the root of João’s pain was. Nevertheless, she was determined to help João and had invited her along for free to the workshop as her chief guinea pig.

I have seen some alternative therapies work, so I am generally tolerant of such things, but it has to be said that I have always reserved a disparaging remark or two for this particular practitioner.

When Saturday morning rolled around, João and her “amazingly strong energies” got up, washed and dressed. She was only just ready when the doorbell rang. The woman giving her a lift — a kindly sort in her early forties, whose husband, it turned out, was a reputable lawyer — was at least twenty minutes early.

João invited her in and made her some coffee; the percolator was always on, in those days. They sat in the lounge and were chatting. This was merely a delaying tactic so that I could get myself together and leave the flat at the same time as João. There was some problem with the door not being self-locking, and I did not have a key.

When the doorbell rang, I scrambled madly into my clothes in the next room, and hastily got myself together. Somewhat hungover, I absolutely had to have a slice of leftover pizza with my coffee.

All this time, I could hear the lawyer’s wife rabbiting on about how sensitive she was to the presence of others. This amused me, because she had not heard, let alone sensed, me banging about in the bedroom next door, or sensed someone rapidly making a bed and putting a room in order, collecting up wine glasses, and such.

With myself now decently assembled, I emerged from the bedroom, ducked into the kitchen around the corner and came out of the kitchen a minute or two later holding a slice of pizza in one hand and a cup of coffee in another.

I stood at the entrance to the lounge, said good morning, and asked if anyone else would like a slice of pizza, immediately sticking my own piece into my mouth.

Thank goodness the lawyer’s wife was sitting down, since she visibly underwent a series of shocks. The first, because of the presence of someone else in the apartment; and the second when she finally discerned that I was indeed a young woman, and the third, when the penny dropped that João and I were lovers.

Eyes wide, and jaw slack, she let out a startled “Oh!” and looked between João and me, moving her arm quite limply, like an upside-down pendulum pivoted at the elbow, obliquely pointing first at me and then João.

João, although amused, was restrained, and used her eyes to say “yes”, and dragged on her cigarette, cutting an elegant, composed figure, cross-legged in one of two armchairs in her super-neat lounge.

Without getting up, she introduced us by name. I could not do much, what with my hands full and my mouth full. So when I finished my bit of pizza, I said “How do you do”, and still standing, slugged back my coffee, then ducked into the kitchen again, and rinsed my mug.

I came back into the lounge, this time with my capacious handbag, which I had left at the entrance to the bedroom, and said, “Well, I had best be going then”. João remained seated, but made the sign and mouthed the words “call me” as I left.

The other woman looked at her watch and said that they ought to make a move too. That’s one way to come out to strangers, I suppose.

©2019 Allison Wright

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