June 21, 2008
Memories of summer
It has been hot in San Francisco the last couple of days. We get a day like this a couple times a year, but a few in a row is pretty rare. Pulling my hair up and feeling damp and sticky brings about a strong sense of déjà vu for me.
The coolness of last night was welcome, and I trotted down to the store to buy chilled white wine and champagne. Nannette and Scott were on their way, and I ran into Jenny and Bob at the store. I felt slightly electric and filled with possibility, like I used to feel when there was a thunderstorm in the distance that was quickly approaching. We sat and sipped and talked and laughed under the stars in the cool darkness of my backyard until 2:30 am.
It made me remember Richmond, VA in the summer, and all the parties that people had on their balconies. People would sing and call out to whomever was strolling on the sidewalk below, inviting them up for a drink. One hot night I was taking a walk and a group of frat guys was singing drunkenly off of a balcony on Monument Ave.:
“And I’ll hang around as long as you will let me…
And I never minded standing in the rain…”
I paused on the sidewalk and joined in:
“You don’t have to call me ‘darlin’ darlin…
You never even called me by my name.”
Afterwards one of them held up a beer and cried, “Hey! Come on up!” I smiled and waved and kept walking, cheered by this brief exchange.
On those summer nights, Dave and Judith and I would sit out on one of our balconies and talk about future plans. Things we wanted, things we feared, things we were striving for. In a similar fashion, last night I told Nannette and Scott: “I seriously need to travel. I can’t stop thinking about it. And we have to go to Spain.”
So we started laying the foundation for a 11 to 14 day trip that would take us to Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, Marrakesh, and Casablanca. I told them I couldn’t afford it right now, but that once I got a job saving for this trip was a high priority. We agreed to shoot for going in 6ish months.
I love the idea of this, because the three of us know each other REALLY well, travel well together, and can make each other laugh in almost any situation. We’d have a blast. And we could all use something to look forward to.
A bit of writing
Although writing has gotten a little too comfortable for me to rely on as a means of expressing myself—I want to break out of this comfort zone more—I wrote something yesterday that made me happy. I still kind of feel like it’s a work in progress.
1. I have no idea where the tapes are now. I don’t think they even have cases or labels. Just innocuous black plastic rectangles waiting to be discovered.
2. I kept them catalogued in a special, private folder on my computer.
3. Freaked out by the possibility that, if there is indeed life after death, the dead can now see all. What if they see…?
4. The lie I told my friends in fourth grade to make it seem like I had a whole other life from the one I actually had.
5. I was irresistibly curious. I couldn’t help it. I had to try.
6. I pretended not to know the surprise, but I knew. I guessed long before. But I didn’t have the heart to ruin it.
7. The pillow I held and pretended was holding me back.
8. A drop that I had somehow missed turned to crust and, when I found it later, I gagged.
9. Sometimes I imagine talking to my childhood self.
10. Sometimes I imagine my elderly self talking to the young woman I am now.
11. I wanted to be tucked in more than anything.
12. I hid it flat on the window sill, and it was completely covered by the window when I shut it.
13. The metallic taste of absolute terror in my mouth.
14. The password I always used for such things was, ‘skin.’
15. When I was 13 I told my little brother he was going to hell for it.
16. She ran over my cat and didn’t take the time to stop and do anything about it. She called me later and told me to go out in the rain and pick up her dead body out of the driveway.
17. I tried to talk myself into it a thousand different ways.
18. During times like that I would sing to myself so I would feel less afraid.
19. When I pass others’ windows at night, I crane my head to see inside.
20. I told her I wished on that star, but I didn’t. I was tired of wishing for the same goddamn thing all the time so I just stopped.
21. It made me smile under water.
22. I wrote it all down in a flurry of anger with the intent of tearing it up and throwing it away. But, truthfully, I fell in love with the fury that poured out of my pen and didn’t have the heart to get rid of it. I swore to myself I’d keep it hidden forever. But I’m pretty sure someone else got their hands on it.
23. It’s much less exhausting just to tell the truth.
24. I would climb on top of the dresser, shut the closet door behind me, and pretend I was flying far, far away.
25. I hid all that cauliflower in a knothole underneath the cabinets.
26. Being ignored hurts worse than anything.
27. It made me feel alive.
28. He crawled under my teenage bed, naked except for the stuffed frog he clutched against him. I couldn’t stop laughing.
29. There was no burglar. I was sneaking out.
30. I drained the last drops out of the wine glass and smoked the cigarette stubs and pretended I was an adult.
31. I hid it under the mattress.
32. I felt shy and couldn’t stop looking down.
33. There’s so much I haven’t said yet.
34. Things you probably wouldn’t even want to know.