I will post more pictures of my last few days at the workshop later this week. Right now, I must finish reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows before someone tells me who dies (DON'T TELL ME!!!)
I've gone back to the relatively mundane existence in my Greenbelt apartment. Princess was very happy to see me, and I was thrilled to see her. However, there was a distinctive chiding tone to her purring and cuddling, as if she meant to chastise me for leaving her. Don't worry pretty kitten, I'm not leaving you again (though I may be uprooting you from this country soon...)
My brother kept the apartment in relative good order, although I suppose it was unavoidable that he would leave it smelling a bit smoky and stale. Ah, the suckitude of smokers is immense. However, my cat is alive and nothing reeks unusually and while it looks like he might have had some kind of party or something, nothing is ruined and I'm glad to be home (even if it is only home for three more weeks).
On my way home, I stopped by New Rochelle, NY to have dinner with Rose-nose and her boyfriend Adam (who I had not met before). He is a kind, witty man who does some kind of consulting work for performance spaces that Rose was at a loss to explain. I approve. It was wonderful to see her again, and the couple seems happy and well-adjusted, so that is good. They made me yummy food (some kind of creamy leeks dish with rice and broccoli) from The Joy of Cooking, which appears to be a much-loved tome in their shared apartment. I hope we Blair girls didn't make Adam feel too alienated by our reminiscing (oh do you remember that time we fought before school? Yeah and then cried for two periods and made up with notes and cuddles in third? Haha! I think it was something about Marie. Oh, I forget!). It probably can seem daunting to the uninitiated!
Rose is one of those friends with whom, even though we have not seen each other in almost three years, we can dispense with formalities and get right to the heart of matters. In the four hours I spent with her, I felt like we communicated more than I have with others I have seen frequently over the last four years. Part of it is our shared experiences and history, part of it is Rose's unique and charming obliviousness to what might be considered "common courtesies" (she is the friend who attempted to wilfully violate the cunningly put wisdom "You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose" by chasing after us with finger brandished), part of it is my own penchant for moving conversation into more meaningful places by overtly stating unvoiced insights in a way others might perceive as rude.
Mostly, I think it is love. The kind of love that comes from choosing your own family--a mutual, solid love that can make the three years apart seem meaningless, even as so much has happened in our lives and in the world.
I gave Rose a book that I read recently that reminded me of her. Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret is the brainchild of a purely creative, artistic soul. You should read it if you get the chance (although given that it falls somewhere between picture book and novel, "read" is not precisely the correct word...). I remain confident that Rose, being a gifted designer and artist (as you can see for yourself in the art link in this post), will one day produce something as blindingly awesome, but even better and more amazing.