The fat woman in my lap metaphor from my last post is more appropriate than ever. This week I feel like she’s putting on weight rapidly, her folds of flesh expanding, dripping grotesquely over my hips and thighs, the heft of her crushing my ribs, making the passage of breath near impossible. Her sweat and mine pool on my stomach, my chest, on the chair beneath me that’s on the verge of busting.
I woke up yesterday and realized the movers were coming in one week. I wanted to weep. I have never loved a home so much. Well, not since my tiny studio in Montmartre with its view of all the rooftops in Paris tumbling downward all the way to the Eiffel Tower smack dab in the middle of the window where I’d sit and watch the pigeons do their mating dance. It was a hole in the wall, but it had charm and a tiny balcony and it was mine and I was 22. My current home is paradise, even with the spiders and outdoor washer/dryer and no real bedroom for boo. I don’t know how to face leaving our tiny sun dabbled cottages with our unkempt garden in between, where my baby has learned to crawl and then walk, our little slice of heaven in Venice.
Harlan called a couple of hours ago—as I was packing boxes, given to me by a Venice mom who just moved here from Baltimore, into the back of my car—and said his Mad Men shoot is being pushed from tomorrow to the end of next week. He wondered if he should do it. Yes, I said, yes, yes, yes! Of course you should. We can push the move a few days, of course we can, why do we have to go so soon anyway? But even as I savor the possibility of three or five more days in my house, I panic about the details that would need to be changed: the movers, the painter, the floor guy, the cleaning crew.
Last night I went to a screening of Julie & Julia and it also brought on the tears. It’s the story of Julie Powell, an ordinary Queens-dweller who pulled herself out of her post-9/11 doldrums by cooking her way through every recipe in Julia Child’s legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Julia is her mentor, her therapist and her muse, and we see her story unfold alongside Julie’s, as she struggles to find an occupation while her husband is working in Paris.
Two women mining the passions that will save them from mediocrity. Two women writing their way out of boredom and anonymity. Two women with wonderful, loving husbands who adore them. Two women forced to move for their husband’s work! No wonder I wept my way through the film.
There was one moment in particular: an editor tests one of Child’s recipes—boeuf Bourguignon—and learns that it’s heaven. Cut to where else but CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, where Julia wanders onto her front porch (she shivers, takes a sharp inhale, it’s freezing out) to receive the telegram announcing that someone is finally publishing her book. Tears streamed down my cheeks. It’s a climactic moment, a triumphant ending to eight years or laboring and hoping and waiting, but the fact that it took place in Cambridge? It was a sign. In a movie about joy and yearning and women who dare to write and dream, Julia loves Paris and wants to be there forever. Yet, she smiles and continues to work, write, cook, laugh, befriend butchers and sellers of produce and love both her husband and life as she is forced to move from town to town, never succumbing to the potential sadness. In the movie Julie has a lot to learn from Julia…I think I do, too.