Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sharing bread

I am a man of words. I love etymologies, the way that Western words carry their history hidden inside them, as Chinese words carry their history in the shape of their characters.

Companion comes from cum + panis, Latin for with + bread. A companion is someone who shares bread with you.

Throughout the times of my dad's dying, I have had a companion: my guy. He portrays himself, rightly, as a man impatient with messy feelings. "I don't really mind it when you want to talk about our relationship, but I'd really like it if you talked about it with someone else."

When it comes to family, though, that's another story. That is a realm he understands in his gut. And so he has been my companion in my father's dying. Even though my family live far away, I have never felt alone with this. He was always there: aware, attentive, sympathetic, helpful, patient, undemanding, and kind. Incredibly kind. Of course the jokes and the insults were rarely absent, but that, too, is his way of sharing bread. I wouldn't have it any other way.

And sharing bread is literally what he has done, this companion of mine. A big salami sandwich to take on the plane. Five pounds of Calabrese sausages to bring to my mother (which she loved). A pumpkin muffin for tomorrow's breakfast.

And when I got home yesterday afternoon from the funeral and he met me at the airport --he knew when I landed because he tracked the flight on his computer-- I had a fritatta waiting for me, for lunch. And after he left me for a while so I could nap and shower, he returned with the dinner he had prepared for me the previous day: red wine, rigatoni with chicken and olives, green salad, and ice cream with berries for dessert. The man put me to bed, rocked me to sleep and then did the dishes and went home.

That is companionship.

Love is a choice.




Leah said...

It was worth the struggle, you two are among the lucky ones.

DoDoGuRu said...

Thanks for that. It was touching =)

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