Five Remedies for Sadness

Aquinas suggests five remedies for when the fizz
bottoms out of the champagne, for when the balloon tied to the body
can’t even lever a dust mote to save the day— Not: Wallow in ballads from the jukebox,
dance with one arm wrapped around your neck, the other your shoulder. Not: swallow
every cachou that smells faintly of burnt almonds. He is firm and eschews improv:
first, he says, grant yourself something you like— And yes, I like the idea of a bateau
going by the name “Pleasure,” bobbing on the surface of the oily water, ready to punt
headfirst toward somewhere other than here. Second, assuage your sorrows
in the form of weeping. Have a good cry, find some little refreshment in catharsis, for
just as laughter does not take away from joy, tears do not damage sorrow. In a souq,
keepsakes are sold: tear catchers of glass tipped with bronze or silver, spindles to keep
lacrimae harvested from each eye. I’ll bring back just one each for you, my daughters— no
more than that. Something to show by way of novelty to your friends, yes? & your gremlin?
Next, contemplate the truth of your sadness: its peculiar song inducing ear worm,
or when it coincides with cravings for chocolate and chips, according to your journal.
Patchouli’s next; or a peppermint scrub, followed by naps on the couch or hammock.
Quell sadness by bathing and sleeping, is his final note. That’s right, no J(k).
Reviewed, remixed, his remedies read a bit like New Age— not medieval— wisdom. I
sag sometimes beneath the peculiar sorrow of being the one my children turn to when each
tangos with her own demons. Then I get FaceTime and phone calls frantic with sobbing,
urgent pleas for help. Thomas, what else can you tell me of sorrow branching from sorrow? Of
visceral pains that tear me up, head-heart-psyche, because of my mother-nature?
When finally I fall into sleep (after a hot bath, as prescribed),
xylems pull from the roots of old fears and swell with pressure. Pane, panic
yeasts from similar spores? Oh to starve forever what feeds on the bread of misgiving. Rhumb
zeroing in on the mother of cures for malaise: just not enough to numb, and not yet nirvana.


In response to St. Thomas Aquinas.

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