Plunket on a Saturday night
So this is the scene. Here we sit in the lounge of our teeny upstairs flat in Kelburn. The walls, post-dinner (cooked, eaten, and cleared) are still damp with condensation. There are foam beanbag beans all over the floor. Dotting the carpet. Our vacuum cleaner is pakaru. Consequently, our floor is untidy.
I am perched on a swivel chair, bending over the laptop on the table to the side of the room, tapping at my keyboard and jumping from articles about the deep meaning in Where the Wild Things Are to Youtube clips from Dumbo, piping up intermittently to share how tragic an elephant's captivity is, and etc.
Camilla has her blankie tucked over her legs, feet crossed beneath it, cosy in a cane armchair leaning against the bench by the door, engrossed in The Hunger Games. We discussed the merits of character arcs and development beforehand, with reference to the books' current rival in the world of pop cultural story consciousness, Game of Thrones. Tom is draped over the other cane chair, feet propped on a swivel, elbows akimbo, dipping his head down into the pages of the second, or third or whatever, volume of the Game of Thrones books. Dipping it back up again to regale us with bits of information or observation about the current exciting and melodramatic events of the saga. Saga. Beowulf would turn in his grave.
Chloe’s neatly sitting in the dead centre of the couch. She’s got her fingers in her mouth and is looking at a flowchart from her notes. Dear Chloe, why are you studying? Two days still 'til school starts again.
The big TV is showing a series menu, but the screen is greyed out and has been for hours. It hums gently. The light is yellow and bright. The kitchen is clean, the counters bare. It’s warm.
Tom looks up and looks pointedly at Chloe. Chloe takes a minute to notice, then gazes back. They hold the line of sight. I happen to lift my head from the screen and watch them for a couple of seconds. Her face is serene. His is serious. I drop my head and let them have their moment. They do. And then we all go back to our reading.***
And of such things is community made.
As our brave first submitter said first, I am sometimes sick to death of the concept of community. It seems that sometimes it's just used as a ham-fisted attempt to force socialisation among people who have little in common and causes more awkwardness than it alleviates.
But then you get little moments of rightness. When you're not, necessarily, socialising. But in communion. The great Madeleine L'engle has this to say:
“Hey Meg! Communication implies sound. Communion doesn't.' He sent her a brief image of walking silently through the woods, the two of them alone together., their feet almost noiseless on the rusty carpet of pine needles. They walked without speaking, without touching, and yet they were as close as it is possible for two human beings to be.
And she had been as happy, she remembered, as it is possible to be, and as close to Calvin as she had ever been to anybody in her life, even Charles Wallace, so close that their separate bodies, daisies and buttercups joining rather than dividing them, seemed a single enjoyment of summer and sun and each other.
Mr. Jenkins had never had that kind of communion with another human being, a communion so rich and full that silence speaks more powerfully than words.”
― Madeleine L'Engle, A Wind in the Door
In related news, my bathroom from the last post is now dirty again. My flatmates and I argue about it constantly. Like we do about the dishes, the shopping and the leftovers. But that's ok. We manage to be ok with each other anyway. it's just, how can I put this? I am okay with the concept - and the practice - of yelling at, fighting with, and arguing constantly with the people I love. My family and my closest friends are the ones whom I yell at regularly. I am an ardent subscriber to the idea that the opposite of love is indifference rather than hate or anger; anger being part of the same coin as affection, the expression of either is, in my eyes, still a sign of a strong relationship. I dated someone who thought being yelled at meant things were irreparably broken. It took me a very long time to figure out why he wouldn't just cooprate and engage in the healthy yelling match I wanted to have, no matter how much I pushed him (I wasn't willing to push him verrry much). Mammmmma mia. That did not go well. Anyway, I am grateful for the presence of all the people who are willing to engage in verbal battles with me. You're GOOD friends, and my kind of people.
Yay for communion and yelling at people. That's a very strange note to end on.
* Plunket is where I live. Cryptic? Maybe just enough.
- Current Music:one of Tom's biking videos