My quiet place is under the ancient fig tree in the park. It is substantial and constant. The canopy casts soothing shadows where creatures from other worlds live and birds hide from the heat and bustle of the day.
I needed the deep, wise knowing of the tree today. I saw my friend, an old friend, a close enough to be linked by blood friend who is no longer a friend. Friends for over twenty years broken apart by an abusive husband. He broke her jaw one night and when I called the police he took a swing at me and ruined everything. My husband said if he ever came near me again he would kill him.
So my friend and I parted. For five gruelling years. Two years ago she contacted me, said she was going to leave her abuser, but she didn’t. We tried to meet casually, to not discuss the only thing that was on our minds, but the small talk pushed us apart just as the abuse did.
I saw her this morning, eye blackened and swollen, buying milk. People turned to stare. She saw me across the road and I held out my hand, involuntary but well meant, and she walked away.
My heart fell to the ground. Sad, mad, full of disbelief that still she endures the cruelty of this man. A woman of such worth reduced to ashes.
Even though I have said goodbye to her when I see here like that the hurt is indescribable. But there is nothing I can do.
I limped to the tree like someone who has walked a hundred miles without stopping and sat and raged deep inside my head. And cried. Things like this are unfathomable. They shouldn’t happen, but they do.
She has to sort it out for herself. You can’t get involved, it’s too dangerous for you. She doesn’t listen, anyway. People say that to me all the time when I speak of her.
They are right but it is hard to turn your back on someone you have loved and leave them alone in the dark.
Some people settle for things they shouldn’t. It is often the way of things. Sometimes all that can be done is to sit where the light is tranquil and soothe our own souls. And listen to the leaves rustle softly. And see the waters slide back to sea.