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Tova Gabrielle

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Peruvian Opal, or, Angels of Berkely
by Tova Gabrielle

Thursday, September 19, 2002

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That trip to California when my son wouldnít speak to me. Made some mysterious decision, I still donít know what it was. For a week he didnít acknowledge me. If I spoke to him he simply left the room in the middle of my sentences. Well, the Saturday before we left, I took this hostile boy with me to the Berkley flea market, where people from all over the world sell their wares dirt cheap.
I walked up to a table with beautiful silver encased lapis earrings and opal pendants that looked like landscapes and moonstones that reflected an eerie blue light. The best gem, though, was the man who was selling them. He was tall, dressed in white, and smiling down, as if his warmth were falling upon my head like the sun.
I had been weeping. "Why are you grieving?" I told him of my sonís muteness, while in the background wondering if I werenít perhaps using my sorrow to get a better deal. Was I demanding a payback for my grief? Surely I wanted, needed, a present.
Today I was collecting signs to stay afloat, wanting to engage in the world rather than going back to my daughter's house and sinking into despair.
This man, a handsome, noble-looking Afghani, then told me that his son was in jail, --" my wife cries all the time." And yourself?
The man doesnít cry. He said that while to his son, the world has become his enemy, for himself, the world has come to be his friend. And that crying was not necessary because the son could only go up from where he was.
I walked around after thanking him profusely, then returned and asked him to say more, "Ö please: exactly why not cry?"
He said that to cry is to make a statement that you donít believe God oversees our incredible journey amidst all of the suffering.
He turned to his business partner, "anything she requests: at half price."
I told him I didnít know how to thank him and he said, no thanks, just pray for me. And you pray for me I said as I bought the Peruvian opal for a steal.
Donít get me wrong, I was in fact pushing it by even spending fifteen dollars. But giving myself this present was like giving a child a transitional object as itís called in psychobabble. A security blanket, something to hold onto to remember one is connected and loved.
What was even more overwhelming was that such blessing reoccurred as I spoke with various vendors from around the world. They all had a story of great loss and grief regarding a child. I spoke with a woman in a booth of wares from Kenya who told me that there, women gather in the streets and fall down on their knees to literally yell at God and demand that their children receive special attention. Not to take shit from God, I guess, accept nothing less than protection of oneís young. As it should be. I told her I wasnít up for yelling at God these days. It was like yelling at my fatheróI just got hit. That I preferred to outfox that kind of angry God.
Anyhow, I kept saying how my youngest would adore this and that, the carved staff with the lions heads, the statue of the old man swatting at flies, and she asked what about the older one who is giving you trouble? He will loose whatever I buy him I said. It doesnít matter she insisted. You can not buy for one and not the other. Here, she said, take this hand-carved elephant. The trunk is lifted as a symbol of optimism. It will help.
I showed it to him and he turned away. My youngest has it by his computer where it gives him funny ideas and encourages or witnesses his writing.
I have yet to learn the true meaning of parenting. My hunch is it has to do more with parenting oneself at this stage of the game. My 78 year old neighbor gave me this idea when she complained that the women she knows are unhappy who gave up their lives to their children, they have found that the payoff theyíd expected never came and in old age they have no real interests to keep them going.
I am going to go for life, my own. As the rabbi in Berkley said, you can only do so much for them and then if they are going to fall you can only stand back and watch. And try not to jump off the cliff after them.

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Reviewed by louis phillips 1/8/2003
there are connections going on everywhere...
Reviewed by Janet Caldwell 9/21/2002
The entire story is enlightening and helpful, Thank you Sweets!

Love, Janet xoxoxo
Reviewed by na na (Reader) 9/20/2002
Yes a very good story. Deep in understanding. Hugs Bill
Reviewed by E T Waldron 9/19/2002
Well you got a discount and was teated to wisdom so it wasn't a total loss;-)I'm convinced no one really knows how to raise children , we never really learned.
Reviewed by Lori Moore 9/19/2002
Your Rabbi has great wisdom. This is an exceptional story.
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