and now?

09/11/2023 0 By BuddyCushman

I have a long-ago friend, Steve T. I think he lives in Malden, Massachusetts. It could be Stoneham. One time I watched him spin out, quite righteously, howling and yowling, angry and frutrated, flustered and feeling abused – loud, loud, quite vocal. When he ran out of gas I walked over to him and asked, “Now what?”

We don’t talk much these days, not much the last 30 years or more, but when we do that two-word wondering always shows up in the conversation. A fun memory, something like a braking of angst, replaced with a deep breath. It felt right for Steve then – my best gambit at being an in-the-moment friend, and it’s felt right for me many, many times in the ensuing decades.

“Now what?” Seeing if a couple of words can brake my own spinning, listening to ancient stories only I can tell so well, entangled in habit and expectation. Knowing ahead of time how things are – how they will be. The last couple of years the question’s felt Zen-like. What does this moment hold, the only this particular moment there’ll ever be. This moment, it’s a gift. How do I say thanks? What’s my keeping on keeping on right now?

A little earlier Steve T. floated into my mind. I couldn’t say why, but there he was. These days Steve is a truly amazing cat. Filled with love for everyone, and going out of his way to share it. Pretty much unendingly. I wrote myself a note to give him a call today, which may be real soon, the time difference and everything. Knowing, like I know I’ll hear the serenade of San Diego birds on the walk I’m about to walk, one of us will ask that good question.

What about right now?