The Window Washer

He comes from Peru,
and reminds me of the Incas
with his short compact body, round face,
brown skin, dark eyes and straight jet black hair.
People connected to the earth, to rituals.
Images of the Andes and Machu Picchu drift by.
This is the second time he washes these windows
that expand space into redwoods and sky
transforming this flat into a tree house.

I sit at my computer while he works.
He comes out of the back room
Usted medita? Do you meditate? He asks in Spanish.
I pause, surprised, wondering what brings up this question.
Oh, I think quickly he saw my altar, the images of Amma and the Buddha.
Yes I do, I reply.

I love to meditate, he says.
It feels so big
like opening my mind to a wide space
so quiet and calm.

I hardly meditate anymore though.
I got married, my wife is Christian.
Christians don’t meditate, he adds.

I feel dumbfounded, at a loss for words,
confused, wondering who these Christians are.
I think of meditators
who have found solace in Christ for centuries.

Christians don’t meditate?
I ask
No, he responds
She says meditation is brujeria – witchcraft.
I miss it, he says
heading towards the kitchen window.
Pero que se le va a hacer?
But what to do?
We argue about this a lot
and I don’t meditate anymore.

My heart aches as I hear his words,
and witness him give up a precious part of himself
in an attempt to create peace with another being.
The cost seems so unbearably high,
one that is paid
by many of us
time and time again.