The Right Side

The weather was cool today, so it was Yom Kippur without that Bikram feeling. I had scheduled my arrival to services just about right: I got to the little-synagogue-that-isn't-there at about 1:30, with just two prayers to go before the break. Then there was yoga. Most of us were wearing white, which is the traditional color worn for the High Holidays. It was nice to see so much white. Made the mind calm. Unlike black, it shows up. You notice it. I was thinking of making white my signature color. Though unlike black, it is not slimming. I liked our yoga instructor. At the end, in savasana, corpse pose, he listed all the parts of each side of our bodies, as we checked on them or touched them with our minds. As he was going through the right leg, for some reason I started thinking of my cousin B, who died two autumns ago, at age 97. I cried a little. I remembered sitting in her kitchen with her with the bird clock on the wall, and me watching a lizard through the window. Why did going over the right side of my body make me think of B? Is there a message there? It makes me almost believe it is possible to commune with the dead. That was maybe the penultimate time I saw her. She was still walking around then. Her last year she was in the hospital and back.

At the break I talked to B, who told me his wife had died of breast cancer. It bothers me to look at you, he said, because of it. She was 50 when she was diagnosed, and had 10 years before it came back. How old are you, he said, in your 20s? I'm 51, I said. When I told him the cancer was not in my lymph nodes, he gestured dismissively, as if I had nothing to worry about. I also talked with an 18-year-old diabetic who was fasting, but who had insulin and food with him, just in case. I said I was fasting but I was drinking water. Did your oncologist tell you to do that? he asked. No, I said, my husband did. The young man told me when he was diagnosed, the first thing he wanted to know was if he could fast on Yom Kippur.


I have just finished reading through a blog written by the cat of a friend of mine. I think her style is influencing mine here. She is a surrealist and a dreamer with typical evil cat aloofness. She has angry leftist politics and a hatred of squirrels. In other words, she is no Mehitabel.