A Sudden Gift of Fate
It’s a cool evening in early October, 1996 and I’m sitting in my car outside my friend Rena’s house listening to a new song from Mary Chapin Carpenter, A Sudden Gift of Fate. I’m enjoying her voice but it’s too soon to make sense of the lyrics as I prepare for my entrance, joining my wonderful circle of friends- our Havurah for the annual break fast feast hosted in great Jewish style. The house is filled with familiar faces many already engaged in deep conversations over large plates of food as I enter the side door without knocking.
I’d been feeling crummy all day- debating whether or not I should even come but a late afternoon a phone call from Hilda urging me to get off my couch take a shower and dress up,forget about Chinese takeout and instead come to a feast with friends moves me off the couch and out the door.
I am sure that all I need as I make my way through the crowds milling everywhere. is one of David’s poppy seed bagels, already cut in half,a glob of white fish salad and a freshly brewed cup of coffee. But I am interrupted by a man I have never seen before in a dark blue suit.
He is introducing himself, asking me questions like what newspapers do you read? The NY Times gets a big smile and that I even know that Haoretz and Maarev israeli papers get’s a grin from him but as charming as he seems all I really want at that moment is the nourishment for my stomach.
I politely excuse myself to find friends and a place to sit.
In the living room, on Rena’s love seat, Pearl offers me her spot and Hilda now next to me, applauds my change of heart and my new pair of green pants.
We catch up as I munch and sip.
I’m not surprised when the man in blue finds a seat to my left and joins our conversation. His gray blue eyes have been following me and HIlda, taking her cue, soon offers him her seat and the conversation intensifies as he moves in, listening intently as I share pieces of my life that engage him- my year in Israel, my love of politics, my passion for teaching. He listens, often interrupting me with another question for more clarity and details, never looking away.
How unusual to have a man really listen, rather than move the conversation to himself. We talk together for the rest of the evening. I don’t remember what we talked about but it was how we spoke to each other. He takes my hand, as the evening ends, thanking me for something unexpected.
I feel the same. I don’t remember his name, just his gray blue eyes and his ability to listen with his whole being.
I am back in my car on that first night at Rena’s heading home listening intently to the tune that first propelled me in that night- A Sudden Gift of Fate, and for the next 20 years those gray blue eyes follow me everywhere,propelling me into the world, giving me a new power, a new confidence.
Tuvia’s gift of deep love for me is transformative.
This last year as issues of the heart weakened Tuvia physically, I stepped up, took on more responsibility tor his needs, surprised that it was so natural, amazed that he let me into his private vulnerabilities
So Tuvia, you leave me a different person from the one you first joined on Rena’s love seat .
Thank you T, I will carry your gift of love with me for the rest of my life