“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
The stone pathway to her home is flanked on either side by various Eastern décor. A green, stone Buddha, a brass gong suspended from a bent, iron stake, and several wind chimes hanging from the edge of the roof, just over the doorway.
A light incense hovers just inside the house, and although I’ve never seen her burn any, the fragrance lingers and the foyer always smells this way. Low music, bells with winds and light percussion, plays softly, and it will all day long.
Here, also, are dark shelves that hold books with titles like, “Sexuality and the Self,” “Why am I so Angry?” “Collaborative Therapy,” “Meditations for Couples Over 60 Looking to Uncover Their True Selves and Some New Cooking Recipes,” as well as several issues of Yoga Magazine (okay, maybe not exactly.) Clients can lounge on the suede furniture and peruse the library while they wait for the good doctor to call.
“What kind of tea can I get you?” she asks every time she brings me into the house. A teapot sits permanently on a wooden table covered with about 30 different boxes of tea. I’m usually too shy to accept the offer.
Every wall is painted a different color for specific purposes, most of which I can’t remember. Purple there, green here, and next to the sitting area, a solid burgundy meant to inspire comfort, “Especially in men,” she says, “it’s inviting.”
Next to the guest chair where I always sit, a small table is covered with bowls of treats. Wrapped butterscotch, chocolate coated almonds, mints, Hershey kisses, and more.
“I want my guests to be comfortable,” she has explained. Oscar, a big, fluffy white dog, lumbers through the room from time to time, usually curling up in his bed behind her, quiet and passive.
She sits opposite me in a plush chair, pillow tucked beneath her to give some relief to her hips, both of which have been replaced. She uses her absurdly long, unpolished fingernails to brush her salt ‘n pepper hair away from her face, which has been cut in a blunt, chin length bob and bangs. Her clothes drape comfortably her from limbs, soft, neutral tones, always barefoot when indoors. She seems permanently on her way to or coming from a class in Yoga, Chi-Gong, Tai Chi, or the like. When I last spoke to her, she was about to fly across the Atlantic to take part in some kind of retreat that involved meditating, praying, and banging on drums around an ongoing fire, on top of a mountain. I would expect nothing less.
“Where do you feel that feeling in your body?” She sometimes asks during our conversations. “If that sensation could speak, what would it say?”
“I don’t know what it would say, but I know what I’d say,” I respond, with some exasperation. I don’t always have patience for this kind of phrasing she uses, but she listens, interested, in spite of me. I can always count on her to provide interesting reading material, and to offer practical, non-flowery advice. She’s a straight shooter who frequently gives herself over to laughter and Cheshire smiles that make her eyes shrink and crinkle behind square framed glasses.
I lost my car keys in my couch cushions one afternoon and was quite late for one my visits with her as I dug them up and drove to her home, sweating and embarrassed. She opened her door mid-giggle after listening to the frantic voicemail I left her and threw her arms around me. This is who she is.
She’s a feminist, a shoe-abstainer, a doctor, an insufferable hippy, a perpetual student, and my physical, mental, and spiritual health guru. She is easily one of the happiest, most positive people I know, and I aspire to move through the world with the ease and grace that she seems to every single day, metal hips and all.