Dinner with Zombie

Last weekend, some dear friends invited me over for dinner. They sent a text and I responded YES!, right away. They welcomed me into their beautiful warm home, full of kids, cats, puppies — life going on, life being lived. Hand-made margaritas, burgers, hot dogs, salad, a meal made with love.

I have to say, it was the most exciting thing that has happened to me in a while.

I’ve been stuck in a dead zone. Zombie-Land. Going through the motions in a semi-conscious state, trying to connect to life. I haven’t been to the grocery store in weeks. I know I am eating, but I don’t know what. As for my garden, I managed to prune exactly half of an apple tree several weeks ago, now it looks like a lopsided head of Medusa. Wise neighbors, to avert their eyes. The house is a wasteland of dirty clothes, dog toys and dog hair, piles of papers, surely some unpaid bills. And, I’m down to my last clean pair of underwear.

So, back to last Sunday, when my dear friends invited this Zombie over for dinner.

You should have seen me. I gobbled down conversation, dinner, drinks and dessert like a ravenous mad woman! I actually ate two hot dogs, which is a lot for someone who used to be vegetarian. I scooped up as much salsa as I could with every last crumb of a chip. I soaked up the food, the music, the energy, worrying only for a moment (before the margarita kicked in), that people might notice my true state:

That I am starving. Starving for companionship, conversation, and food. Starving for touch, compassion and lightness. I want to be near people who are living, laughing, enjoying music, and…cooking. I haven’t cooked since my husband died. I just can’t. I can’t be trusted to turn the oven off, I can’t remember to buy ingredients at the store (and, as mentioned — what store?), food doesn’t taste the same way it used to, but mostly because cooking for myself feels like one of the loneliest endeavors on earth. Lonelier than my bed, my mornings, my walks, my weekends.

But dinner, on Sunday, with friends, it was like a blood transfusion. I could feel the transformation in myself. We talked about a lot of different things, education, music, social issues. They also asked about me, how I was doing, and they talked about my husband – it was like balm on my soul (most people still don’t realize that just the mention of his name is the antidote. It’s the lack of him, the omission of him – the void – that sucks the blood out of my veins).

These kind friends sent me home with a bottle of cider, a belly full of food, and a heart full of love. They probably have no idea how much it meant. I need to use this energy, while I’ve got it. Time to clean house, let the lightness in, shake these limp, dangling limbs into action. I’ll be starting with the laundry. After all, Zombies wear underwear, too.

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