Dangerous Compassions


hermitage bun

“That’s it,” I said.  “I can’t live among people any more.  I’m leaving for my hermitage.  There, no one will incorrectly wash my rice pot.”

We were in bed in the morning, and I was complaining that the rice pot was dirty when I went downstairs to start amaranth cooking.  There was some gooey, gelatinous rice starch material stuck to the bottom of the inside.  That’s definitely happened before.

“Until you lose your marbles, and can’t wash the rice pot properly anymore,” I added.  “Then I will say–that’s it! and kick you out of the hermitage.  You and Bunny will have to go.”

I started giggling.  “You will have a long stick with a handkerchief tied to the end.  And you’ll start smoking a pipe.  You’ll say to Bunny–come on, Bunny.  We’re hitting the road.  And Bunny will be like–why isn’t Mama coming?  And you will be like–she’s in a bad mood.  She’ll feel better tomorrow.”

meta moment

“What do you think of this story?” I asked Ming.

“Good story,” he said.  “I thought the handkerchief was a flag at first.  A flag at the end of the stick.”


“Yeah, and when you come back the next morning and knock on the hermitage door, what would I say?” I asked.

“Thank you for coming back!  I love you!  I missed you so much!” Ming offered in a high voice.

I’d imagined fantasy-me would say, “Oh, I finally got some peace around here.  Stay away!” so I was giggling to hear his depiction of my whole-hearted re-acceptance.  Yes, I love Ming’s good attitude.


Ming was lying face down on the bed, starting to fall back asleep, and his words were not clear.  They were getting sleep muffled as he drifted back to dreamland.

“I would be like–what did you do while you were away?  And you would be like–oh, nothing much.  I hung out by the railroad tracks.  Some other hobo and I had a fire.  Then we painted ACAB on some bridges.”

Then I was laughing again.  Yes, street art fantasies, as Ming began to snore.


In real life, Bunny doesn’t talk.  He hops, kisses, snuggles, and gestures.  That’s about it.  That’s how we know that was a fantasy.

In real life, Ming would never smoke a pipe.  Maybe one of the licorice pipes made of candy.

In real life, I would never kick out Ming for washing the rice pot poorly.  I’m in it for the long haul.  But this conversation was play–play space is where we can work out real issues elsewhere, with rich creativity.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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