The water pump in the basement of my old house stopped working yesterday. I live in Upstate New York and get water from an outside well. The pump somehow gets the water from the well into my house. So, the plumber comes out this morning (Sunday), tinkers with the pump and says he can’t fix it.
I have a deeper problem than the pump, he tells me. The problem lurks somewhere down in the 240-foot well in the backyard.
He told me to call Hudson Pump, which I did, but they couldn’t come out until the next morning. So I went out for more jugs of water to do my ablutions, brush teeth, etc.
In the past, this sort of thing would have made me crazy, but I find myself dealing with the problem in an uncommonly calm manner. I almost welcome it as a sign to get the hell out of this house.
For the past nine months the house has been a solitary madhouse of grief and suicidal depression following the death of my wife last December.
I have thought about moving out every day since she died, but I didn’t have the will or the energy. Most days I didn’t even want to get out of bed. There’s no point in moving when all you want to do is curl up and die.
Then, two things happened: Nineteen days ago I got a phone call out of the blue from one of my wife’s friends when we all lived in Miami Beach in the 1980s.
Her name is Renata and she has the faith, as I like to put it, a deep faith and a firm belief in God. As I spoke of my despair about losing Susan, Renata tried, respectfully and unobtrusively, to convey to my pitiful pagan mind and empty heart that Susan is not gone forever and that, when the time comes, I will be with her again — all that stuff that I could never wrap my head around.
As we reminisced about old times, the three of us drinking and smoking in the ‘Miami Vice’ era of 1980s South Beach craziness, I suddenly had a surreal feeling — totally alien to my way of thinking — that Susan was in the room with me, sharing the memories and the laughter. It was the first time in nine months that this empty house had heard the sound of laughter and seen the glimmer of hope.
I wrote about that phone conversation in a previous post, ‘Susan came back today’ and I realized then that I wanted — needed — Renata to continue to be my friend, my spiritual guide, so to speak.
Okay, that was the first thing. The second thing, of course, was the — I was going to say goddamned water pump, but now I say the blessed water pump. I’m beginning to believe it’s part of the Overall Plan, the ‘Mysterious Way’ that English poet William Cowper wrote about in ‘Light Shining out of Darkness’ and from which we get the popular phrase, ‘God moves in mysterious ways.’
So, let me end — or begin — with this: The next step would be to start packing up this house and get the hell out of here — dare I say, to a town near my spiritual guide.