Thursday, May 17, 2007

a safe place.

Dearest P,

I won't even pose the question, "do you have certain objects or sounds or smells or textures or foods that are inexplicably calming-- and do you rely on them when you feel very sad or lonely or scared?" because duh. I guess everyone does, but I also know you are slightly ritualistic and have little "way things are" that are soothing to you.

I know that you are blue. I know this is a hard time with a big world and a teeny pea and a sailor way far away. I want to share some of the things that my grandma gave me that still make me feel safe and sound. They are mostly memories from her apartment in New Jersey that was in an urban area-- not so far from you. When we visited, I slept in Grandma's room with her-- she had twin beds with silky gold and green comforters that smelled a little of smoke and Jean Nate perfume. My grandma was a darling little woman who was graceful and delicate and powerful and, until she had cancer, wore her beautiful long silver hair in a tight bun with a tortoiseshell clip. She always tried to get me to talk into tape recorders, but even though I adored her, I was painfully shy. I wish now that I hadn't been. But now I still have some magical things from my grandma that you would love too. I know this-- she would have adored you too.

  • she believed in the power of pyramids and constructed perfect pyramids out of cardboard boxes and packing tape which she placed under every bed.

  • she slept with the window cracked open so the street sounds (very foreign to me then) became the most comforting sounds I now know.

  • those searchlight things (that rotate around and now I only ever see them on the top of the Luxor resort) swooped around and caught the corner of the room. Always. Never failed.

  • she kept a little stash of snacks-- mostly chocolates-- in her bedside table so she could snack throughout the night. She was so birdlike that it was positively elegant when she broke off a tiny bite of chocolate at 3 am. and one, if one is not a slob, can keep tiny snacks in one's bedstand if one wishes. and should do so immediately.

  • my favorite (and the sensation which is most poignant still) is her little radio, tuned to am talk radio, turned low, but babbling all night long. Nothing is better for soothing sadness. If you need, take a little radio (ipods are no good for this because they just aren't the same) and crawl under the blanket. Turn the radio down so you can just make out the words and turn the dial until you find either a) the BBC World News or b) a baseball game or 3) a staticky am talk show

  • try this: mix yellow raisins with dry roasted peanuts and put them in a pretty china bowl. eat no more than 7 or 8 at a time. but go back frequently. she did this-- always had a bowl of this delightful concoction.

  • limeade (if you're a kid), gin and tonic if you're grandma.

There are ten million things I would say about her and about how strange it is that these experiences, which really only solidified when I was in early adolescence, came after my grandfather's death and my grandmother became sick. I do not remember well the times when she was not sick. That's stored in a musty old book in my being somewhere. And it makes sense now that I would have been desperately looking for comfort, therefore the smallest sounds, smells (gas stoves are another soothing smell), tastes, would be fodder for comfort.

If I could take you there in a time machine, I would. We would find her enormous stash of costume jewelry and her lipstick in pink cases and we'd sneak a peek at her amazing hair when she finally let it down for the night... I want you to have some peace and comfort in your big world-- a small nest, perhaps, where you can wrap yourself up tight and feel safe knowing that the power of the pyramid is, indeed, emanating from under your bed.

I love you. Let me know what you need.

your pea.