After polishing up the post yesterday on discovering home, I closed my laptop lid, had lunch with Gabe at the Institute of Contemporary Art, and enjoyed the ocean breeze on the open deck of their cafe. It’s been really nice living in the Seaport, all in all, despite the newness of the immediate vicinity and all the vacant parking lots. The best part of living here, though, is finally living with Gabe and enjoying the bliss of domestic life with him.
In the evening, I met up with Gabe to head in to the Apple store to see about getting memory and the latest operating system for Niea, my MacBook. I was shocked to realize that Niea is five years old! Five! And she still runs as smooth as the day I brought her home. I am, however, considering retiring her because the Apple store informed me that they don’t carry hardware for computers as old as mine. That, and it would be about as much money to polish her up as it would be to buy a netbook that weighs far less and is much smaller, convenient for a nomadic writer like me. I’m thinking.
After walking away from the Apple store in the Back Bay disappointed and shocked by the sudden realization of how old my laptop is, we decided to do dinner at Piattini‘s. Great dinners, even better gelato. I recommend the super dark chocolate sorbetto and the sea salt combo.
As I sat there, enjoying dinner with Gabe, enjoying life in Boston, coming to feel at home in the Seaport/Fort Point neighborhood, and glowing with the pride of having written much to be proud of during the day, both a post on the blog and a rough draft of a new story, I felt blessed.
Then I remembered something.
Gabe once told me a story of a ladybug.
It goes something like this: He was working at his dad’s law firm in Lynnfield at the time, about five or six years ago. It was summer. He took his lunch outside one day to enjoy the weather and fresh air. While sitting there, enjoying his food, most likely a delicious plate his mom put together for him, a ladybug landed right on the tip of his finger.
At this point in the story, knowing him well, I imagine him holding the ladybug in front of his face, studying her cafefully and in a soft voice, talking to the ladybug. He did that with Clarence, my hamster, and now with our betta fish, Enki.
A strong breeze picked up. The ladybug clamped down with her mouth trying desperately not to be blown away. I imagine, when the breeze died down, Gabe gently put her down somewhere safe and wished her well. He embodies the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. Animals love him and he loves them. He, however, now had the rare story of a ladybug “biting” him.
Around the same time, about five or six years ago, I was living with my former husband, boyfriend at the time, in Orono, Maine. I was keeping myself busy with coaching, tutoring, and various creative projects while trying to find my first teaching position. The summer had passed and now we were full into autumn and I was still seeking a position. This was in 2007 when the economy showed the first signs of distress.
I wasn’t very happy. I was struggling to find work. My relationship wasn’t really working, but I wasn’t ready to give up on it yet. And I was in a creative and spiritual rut. Soon thereafter, I got a job and moved to my own apartment 100 miles south of Orono.
I woke up one morning in my new place and sat down on a stool looking back across apartment and began mulling over what I should do with myself that day. At first I thought I was seeing things, but when I got up and walked in and studied the far wall, I saw that there were about five ladybugs walking around. I turned my head and saw a few more sitting on my bookshelf. More on the computer desk. Even in the kitchen. There were ladybugs everywhere! Knowing something of their symbolism, I refused to harm them and wouldn’t let my former husband, boyfriend at the time, harm them either. He was down visiting that weekend. I carefully lifted each one and carried him/her to my fig tree on the deck and set them on a leaf.
That night I dreamed about ladybugs.
And about Gabe, only I didn’t know it at the time. For the next seven nights, each time I fell asleep, I dreamed of the name Gabriel. I saw in this dream a tall figure with dark hair. Having had symbolic dreams in the past, when I remembered and wrote the dream down in my journal, I simply thought it was referring to the Archangel Gabriel and symbolized a new beginning.
Well, I was right on all counts but had no idea just what was in store. Quick version. My relationship with my former husband continued for another two years then one day, I realized I just couldn’t make it work anymore and ended it. I had been at a small high school in Maine where I taught for two years, and then I was cut when their budget shrank. The separation and job loss happened at the same time. At this time, I followed my desire to live in Boston, so I moved to Salem where I had made friends.
Where I met Gabriel, Gabe, and have become immensely happy, have found home, and feel for the first time in my life that I am right on time in all time. And now I wear ladybug earrings.