Your Smile Could Melt Glass


He said, “you are so gentle and kind.”

And you, you my friend are high as a kite and married.

But hey.

Thanks, I do appreciate the compliment and I wished him a good night and I left Java Beach and came home and wrote a really big letter to my program director.

Because, you see, I had my heart a bit broken today and I am sure there are some of you that are going to roll your eyes, but fuck you and go read another blog.

I was at work today and granted, I was cranky, the reason I was there was to let in the housekeeper and she was an hour late.

Dudes.

I had to make some phone calls.

I got right with God.

And by the time she showed up I was happy and serene and getting myself settled in to do some homework, write that paper I have due for Madame Mildred Dubitzky.

Except it felt tremulous and awkward and my mind was too full from all the material we covered over the weekend.

So.

Some review reading and the process of knowing that often I sit down and don’t know what I am going to write and then I write the paper.

While in the midst of this I was poking around the academics page on my school site and then I saw it.

The dates for the fall semester.

Wait.

What?

Fuck.

NO!

No.

No.

Fuck me.

The first weekend of classes is Labor Day Weekend.

September, 4-6th.

What the fuck.

I’m at Burning Man.

I stared incredulous at the screen, Labor Day weekend, why would they do that?  The school didn’t last year and I made my plans last year knowing that.

I made the assumption, I know, I know, that it was going to be the same kind of schedule.

And yeah.

It was going to be tough and it was going to be wonky and I might lose some sleep, but I was going to go, I got a job, I got a ticket, I got a purpose.

And it’s my tenth year.

And though I don’t want to dwell on it because I will start crying again.

It’s the 10th year anniversary of Shadrach’s death and he was the reason I went in the first place.

I took his ashes, not all of them, but enough, a whisper, a soft remonstrance of a kiss on my forehead, prayers for happiness in the ether, the never ending spiral out of love that I know he swims in, that his joy and smile and love are still with me.

And.

Oh.

Fuck.

Ten years is a long time and a lot has happened and I have grown and it still hurts and I still miss him and I always, always, have a moment, just for him, just for me out in the deep playa and I will really miss it.

I was too upset to keep working on my paper.

I called my person.

I was told to contact the school.

I scoffed, I said I was going to accept it.

(Roll over)

I also said I was going to pray and just focus on today and doing the things I needed to do.

I called another one of my people and sobbed.

He told me to take a good, brisk walk, like big, and move.

I did that.

I told the housekeeper I was going out to run errands and I just strode like a woman on fire through the Mission.

I walked into a nail salon and got my nails done.

Black.

My mood was a little dark.

I took myself out to lunch afterwards and didn’t get on the phone, but I knew I was going to have to tell the family I had contracted to work for.

It was only going to be the right thing to do.

My heart hurt and I was still too tender to do that.

I got back to the house and made a cup of tea and the housekeeper was almost done.

She wrapped up, I took care of securing the house and I hopped on my scooter and headed to the Sunset.

First the Inner then, the Outer.

Pit stop at Dr. Kurtzbay to pick up my new progressives–re-lensed my green frames–and found a pair of sunglass frames I liked to get a prescription set.

Then from the 7th and Irving to 46th and Judah.

I dropped off my laptop and hopped back on the scooter.

I felt at a loss with what to do with myself.

I did some grocery shopping at SafeWay.

Then came home, put groceries away, looked at my homework and shelved it.

I just couldn’t do it.

I read for a while, non-school material, more of The Widow of One Year, by the fabulous John Irving.

Then I sat and meditated for awhile in the back yard, getting some sun on my face.

And after that.

Ha.

I took a nap.

I was so zapped.

I thought I slept a half hour.

I slept an hour and a half!

I made some dinner, and frankly, well, I couldn’t cook.

I knew I had to call the family I was supposed to work for.

I did.

Barely able to do it without breaking my voice.

Then I went and did the deal and I was of service and did my commitment and helped out a new lady and went to fellowship and after I shared with a woman who graduated from CIIS this past December.

“Oh CIIS empties out at Burning Man, you should see if they can change that, really contact someone,” she said while I listened.

A friend of mine in the cohort mentioned the same thing.

But aren’t I asking for the entire cohort to kowtow to my schedule?

Then I thought.

Fuck it.

Just take the action.

So.

I did.

Hey D_____-

I don’t believe we have ever met, but I am in the ICPW 2015 cohort, happy to be heading into my last month of my first year.  A little overwhelmed too!  But, over all super excited and grateful to be on the path.
That being said I was heartbroken to see that the first weekend of the ICPW 2016 fall semester is Labor Day weekend.  I work at Burning Man and was planning my travel there around school, and my assumption, my wrong, I know, that the dates would be similar for the first weekend of the second year–that is after Burning Man.
I know it’s an odd request, but it is a spiritual experience for me, part of my practice, my ten year anniversary of going as well as my best friends ten year anniversary of his death–I took his ashes to Temple my first year, and I have gone back every year since, holding many positions of service in the community.
I am sure that I am not the only student at CIIS that attends Burning Man and I am aware that there is a least one other in my cohort who was planning on going and has purchased tickets.
If there is any leeway, flexibility or other options for that weekend I would greatly appreciate your thoughts.  I am bereft.  I do understand if there is no recourse, I will forfeit my going to the event for my schooling, I have already notified my employers to look for another–however my position is extremely challenging to fill.  If, again, there is anything I can do, please let me know.
If not, I hope that for the future that the department may consider those of us who go to the event for their spiritual practice.  I have been sober 11 years and am also of service in the recovery community there.  In fact, if it hadn’t been for an experience at Burning Man two burns ago, I wouldn’t even be at CIIS–feel free to see my application essay, it’s all spelled out there.
Thank you again for your service as Program Coordinator, your efforts are noticed, if not always acknowledge directly.
Sincerely yours,
Carmen Martines
I have no idea what comes next.
But I tried.
I made an effort.
And for that I am grateful.
Fingers crossed.
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