Saturday, September 30, 2006

Dear everyone,

Hi. Wasn't it just, um, May? And now it's very nearly October? How has this year managed to feel so slow and yet have gone by so quickly? I've lost something, somewhere.

A couple of days ago when I was downtown I ran into an acquaintance. The last time I saw him was sometime last year, and his wife had just died. We stood in a drizzle while he told me that he was having trouble dragging his gaze above the sidewalk because everything he saw reminded him of her. I, as usual, had nothing very important to say, and so I hugged him and told him that although it was cold comfort, I have found that nothing very very good or very very bad lasts for very very long.
When we bumped into each other on Thursday he looked me straight in the eye and smiled. He wasn't good yet, he told me, but he was better.

Most of my time this month has been taken up by a very tall distraction, which is so far proving to be fun. I have only tripped and fallen once this month and my knee is nearly healed. October means pumpkin carving and pumpkin beer, and lots of shows. I will be making ribbons out of whatever I have on hand to tie in my hair and if you look out your window that will be me throwing an impromptu dance party in your parking spot.

I'm not good yet, either, but I am better.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I have a cedar hope chest, a gift from my mother during her furniture building phase, a phase that also provided my standing mirror/curio case that I use every morning to check that my stockings are straight and my blacks even. Hope chests, historically, were meant to hold all of the things that a girl would need to be married, but since I am a modern girl and my family's black sheep I was left to fill it myself.

And because I am me and this is my apartment, my hope chest is filled with the past. This is unfortunate because when I am looking for a place to stow a spare blanket that the recent heat has rendered useless, I can't find a space in there.

In one corner I keep certain creeping hot Florida nights with the sarong over my bikini hiked up to mid-thigh, and in another I store the stuffed koala my grandfather kept with him in the hospital, one of the few physical relics of the man. Over here are decorations for the postmodern Christmas tree and here are souvenirs from the prom I didn't go to. At the bottom is a box of letters from the boy who was supposed to be the last one and then wasn't, cushioned by caps and gowns and honor cords.

No room for blankets, or for linens or trousseau for that matter, but there is room for all the small things that keep me grounded.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The two things that I don't actually write about here--work and my love life--are both recently leaving me exhausted and relatively incoherent. Things are busy, y'all. My right eye won't stop twitching.

I bought an external hard drive for backup. Its name is Harvey. It came today and we are getting acquainted.

I am very tired and in need of a cocktail. Also in need of: gloves, things with polka dots, green or blue shoes, and twelve hugs. And, the rain went where? Come back, rain-and-earthworms: I miss you.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Today was supposed to be Oktoberfest day, but Sunday bus schedules suck and my throbbing head and I just could not commit to spending over an hour trying to go just a few miles--and, worse, another hour and a half eventually trying to get back. (My head was throbbing not because of my fondness for The Drink, since The Drink and I have made only passing acquaintance recently, but because of my habit of The Stress. The Stress twists my shoulders until they pinch a nerve that retreats to my head and hurts there. It's a very complicated and difficult to get rid of headache.) Instead, I spent a large chunk of the afternoon napping. As I haven't had a single activity-free day in at least a month, the napping was awesome.

Eventually I went to have coffee, where I read the Book Review and my companion read the sports pages, of all things. Eventually dinner was had and then I met a very nice dog. It's been a very pleasant weekend.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

According to my calendar, summer is finally over, which is ok by me. The earthworms are out in the mornings and I want to gather them up and give them to you in handfuls like bouquets of flowers. ...Squirmy bouquets of flowers.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I'm walking home through the dark, slowly making my way down the chilly two blocks back to my apartment. Halfway there I meet a policeman who is peering at the back of a parked car. He looks up and notices me, nods and asks if I need an escort home. I tell him no, I'm fine, that I'm only going a little farther up. He nods again and I make my way down the sidewalk, arms wrapped tightly around my ribcage.

But twelve steps farther on something smells like rosemary and I am feeling suddenly and desperately alone, wishing that I was not the one making this cold and solitary walk home. It hits me out of nowhere and I instinctively gasp in a breath and jam the heels of my hands onto both of my eyes. When I gather myself and look around the policeman is looking at me, concerned, so I give him the thumbs up and go home.

When I get there I drop my things and turn on the shower, getting ready for bed. I see a little spider on the side of the bathtub and turn the spray away from it, glad for anything else alive in this inconsiderately cold apartment. But I have not moved fast enough and it drops down into the water, not holding its breath long enough for me to fish it out.

I can't bring myself to force it down the drain and so instead I watch it, swirling insensate around my feet.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The rains make me want to be in seventeen different places at once, making soups and reading books and drinking cocoa and cuddling.

I've been reading about chemosynthesis lately, about how things live in places where there is no sunlight. I've read stories about people that have been in submarines and things down near volcanic vents where entire vivid ecosystems live. Near these outpourings of chemicals creatures have not given up their colors, have not gone albino. They live in these places of extreme heat and pressure and not only do they live, but they thrive.

Any other fool would have gone back and started at the beginning.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Last weekend TMS called to tell me that he had walked into his girlfriend's apartment, intending to surprise her with a night out, only to find her in bed with not just someone else but two someone elses--a boy and a girl. He called me from the sidewalk outside her building, pacing, asking me what I thought he should do.
I was speechless; this was beyond me. She ran outside just then, hastily wrapped in someone's button-down shirt, so I recommended tequila and let him listen to her story.

He stopped by tonight just as I was finishing a nap and deciding if the No Reasons were weighing too heavily for me to actually get up. I answered the door and he blustered into my apartment, cranky with me for having encouraged him to Gesture with this one. I pointed out that I'm really the last one he should be taking advice from, and that I'd said that already months ago.

We grabbed a bottle of wine and went for a walk. I'm no solution for either heartbreak or humiliation, but I am always good for a hug and helpful invectives, and we cheerfully called her names for a while. After a while we reached a park and sat down and he said that what really worries him is that each disappointment hurts just a little less, that he's afraid of becoming used to it. He said he's aching around edges he doesn't know how to dull. I smoothed his hair as he wondered whether some tunnels just don't have ends.

I still didn't know what to tell him. I'm good at believing in fairy tales for other people but I don't know how to see them for myself, and that was what he needed just then; he needed to hear that I believe, unilaterally, in happily ever after. So I told him that I am a poor soothsayer and don't have the eyes for ends of tunnels, but that I stand by my advice to Gesture with abandon. I gave him a patented samantha speech all about dragonflies and snails and Magritte and though I don't think he believed a word of it he was at least poking fun at my own romantic failings at the end of it, a sure sign of improvement.

I'm not worried about him. TMS is a romantic too, and will have made the whole event into a funny story to tell his mom the next time she calls and asks when he'll be getting married. But I wonder at you, people, and I wonder at myself, at just how careless we are with each other.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

It's too late to be sitting in this bar and yet here I am, halfheartedly wishing that we could still smoke in here so that I could light one up to put out in my eye. It would be quite a charming bar, I guess, if this man sitting next to me wasn't currently involved in weeping into his drink about having cheated on his girlfriend yet again. I don't invite these sorts of confessions, but I get them anyway.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The situation called for gravity, but since all that I had on hand was thinly veiled contempt, that was what I went with. It complimented your own disdain nicely, a disdain that created an echo even though we were nowhere near walls. Somewhere in the shadows cast by your cheekbones there had to be an answer, but if there was I couldn't find it.

Even still I'm not sure where we would have gone had the molten promise in your eyes proven to be an option, but I am sure that we may not have come back.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006're all going to laugh at me, but here's the deal. When my old roommate was in town in July he attempted to make my toilet stop running (no, please, no jokes) and instead made the noises worse. I finally convinced them to fix the thing today, after weeks and weeks of infuriating running water noises, and I came home just now to a brand new toilet.

But, uh...I'm a very small girl. And my feet don't reach the ground when I sit on the thing. Which just feels completely ridiculous, because I am a grown up, dammit, and the one time my feet ought to reach the floor is in the bathroom.

(Additionally, today I am [ok, a couple of weeks ago I was] ever so slightly famous, which makes me an inordinate amount of excited. Huzzah for slow afternoons tending store at 826.)

Monday, September 11, 2006

I leave early in the evening, wondering why I didn't stay to be petted softly until I fell asleep. My heels echo on the quiet street and though I'm not paying attention to my face my brain knows that it is lightly painted with a smile.

My free time has been taken up lately in ways that I haven't figured my way around yet, in ways that I am for the moment treating like a butterfly that has landed on my shoulder which might, if I breathe in too quickly, fly away.

But rest assured that I am having fun and sleeping well, and that soon the sun will go away and I will return to my habits of strolling through my city at all hours, grinning madly and whatever crosses my path. And then we will take a net and go hunting for moonbeams and any cloud shaped like a dragon.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

When I woke up this morning it felt like rain, and walking outside confirmed it--the rains are back. It makes me want to go shopping for warm fuzzy things to wear and bottles of wine and new gloves with polka dots and stripes. Outside it feels like I've come home.

I took back the no touching rule when I got back from Florida, just like I promised. So far that's turned out to be a good decision, so it looks like I was wrong and TMS was right. Not that I intend to tell him that.

Today waiting for the bus I met an old Czechoslovakian man. He sat down and said, "I think you are eighteen years old," and when I denied it he asked how old I thought he was. I answered, "Twenty-nine," and his lady friend elbowed me and whispered, "He's plenty nine." I figured that was a joke, so I laughed.
The bus was late, and he told me most of his life story. Since he's 81, that story took a while, but the gist was that he was a rich, successful man in his country up until the revolution. He's been here for 27 years and thinks that Maria Cantwell should be president (and that I should be her assistant). He also told me that he's very funny and writes very good poetry, and at the end we all concluded that our wait for the bus was a worthwhile time.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

It is a soundtrack made of a softly closing door and reluctantly fading footsteps that plays in my head during these nights that I sit waiting for the rain. And although the reluctance and the footsteps--and, for that matter, the door--have not ever existed, it is the possibility of them that echoes in the back left corner of my skull. That's the place where I keep the chance that anything might still happen, the place where the secret smiles live.

But in the dream that I had we drove down a road strewn with the ribbons from cassette tapes, all melted into the asphalt and with no intention of leaving. And though the reflection of the sun burned the lines into my eyes and all I wanted was to get away, I have not quite stopped wondering what that street would have sounded like if we could only understand how to play it. In my dream the joke that you made was not funny.

And I have tried to describe, scribbled on cocktail napkins and paper placemats and packets of sugar, all the ways that I would dare you to come and find me. Only hide-and-seek was never my game, because though you promise to look under all beds and behind all drapes your fingers could very well be crossed behind your back. So hiding is where I will not be, nor will I be driving down highways crisscrossed with music. I will only be waiting for the rain.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The birthday weekend went well, with lots of Bumbershooting and drinking and tea and phone calls and inappropriate text messages. Today, because evidently the weekend now lasts until Tuesday, I cut off all of my hair and made a disastrous batch of cookies. (So now I look like a boy and my apartment smells like burned. In case you're taking notes.)

Have you noticed that I still have not split town with a houseboy named Enrique? I am doing such a good job of both staying put and not panicking. I deserve three gold stars. I'm so anxious for it to be fall already, for there to be clouds and drizzle and piles of leaves for kicking through. Summer is useless for me. I need spring and fall or nothing at all.

Until then, your job is to work out a secret handshake. I will be here, thumb wresting with the cookie-burning goblins that live in my stove.

Monday, September 04, 2006

I stopped to tie my shoes and somewhere--either while you were moving ahead or while I was falling behind--something broke. I would have caught up and told you, I swear, only I had tied those laces so tightly that I found myself incapable of running. I waited with my hands over my eyes until you came back and told me that it was all fine, but neither one of us believe that any more than we believed in the migratory patterns of butterflies. What we believed, instead, was that whatever was beautiful was also stationary.

What we believed was that we would always find what we were looking for.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Today is my birthday, and I will be nine years old again this year.