I’m eating white cheddar Cheetos — the fancy kind with no preservatives, flavors or colors. The elitist cheese puffs were only $0.29 more than the regular, neon orange, radioactive kind, so I decided not to get cancer, just this once. I’m drinking diet ginger ale, too, because cheese dust and ginger pair well, and, also, everyone knows the word “diet” counteracts all calories consumed in that sitting.
I’m in Honolulu right now, staying in my college kid’s apartment while she’s home earning money for the summer so she can come back here. I’m next to an azure pool with the sun shining, and my eyes squinting, and palms waving, and a pregnant cat patrolling the perimeter. All I can think about is the fact that those kittens will be born more free than children on the mainland who needed compassion and asylum and got cages instead.
Every Cheeto I eat tastes like It’s Not Fair, and every sip of soda like What Am I Doing, and Why Am I Here, and This Luxurious Life is Obscene in the Face of Such Great Suffering and Evil.
I keep thinking about whether I can convince Greg to eat dimsum two days in a row, and also how to do more than just contact my senators and keep posting on Facebook about kids on concrete clinging to chain link. Are any of the activists and amnesty organizations and attorneys making headway? How do I help? And will the dimsum restaurant have more mochi fried rice balls?
My littlest kids splash in the water after visiting Pearl Harbor and studying Japanese concentration camps today, and, unlike when I was 11, they’re under no illusions that war and injustice and cruelty on massive scales can’t happen again; that they’re not happening right now in our country, in our churches, in our communities. They can’t pretend America is better than this. They already know it’s not. These are their foundational and formative experiences. Maybe they’ll fight harder and earlier than we did because they didn’t get to play make-believe. Maybe? Maybe they’ll stop splashing each other in the face and bickering about who had the last turn on the floating mattress. Maybe.
The wind is blowing in my face, making my eyes water, and I’m contemplating whether it’s worth the effort to repaint my badly chipped toenail polish. I feel sick, and it’s not the Cheetos. Turns out, I couldn’t stomach many of those, although I made a heroic effort. I’m doing what I can for our babies in prison — because they are our babies, every single one — even though I know I’m not making a dent in their boxes made of steel and stone.
And I suppose it’s OK that my thoughts are tangled and torn and intertwined, the superfluous holding hands with the significant. I suppose it’s OK that I can’t do a thing without thinking of our babies crying in cages. I suppose it’s OK to feel sick about the state of the world and the tiny ones suffering in it. OK, and right. Feeling sick is part of it. Action, too; of course action, as much as we can. But mourning, as well. To my stomach and my bones. Sitting under a clear sky, next to a pool.
Sending love, dear friends,