I was fifteen and I spent my birthday weekend with my aunt in New York City, and she took me shopping all day in Williamsburg. It would be too hot to walk, too dry to breathe and too bright to see. Everything was quick and colorful. I would be delighted by everything I saw: girls in short shorts and Rebook’s, people in love, whispered arguments, street art, rack sales, music drifting out of someone’s car. I was totally outside this life, looking in. Whenever this invisible schism would break and someone from this outside community would interact with me – a friendly barista, a salesgirl, a street performer, it felt like some forbidden recognition. I just wanted to be an adult, part of this world. My aunt and I would amass more and more shopping bags, a delightful indulgent weight, and so we’d duck into discovered coffee shops for the AC and gradually come to life with iced coffee in a corner somewhere, liberated in our exhaustion. Alive with pain, and moved by joy. I am reminded of this sometimes on hot summer days in New York, of which there are many. I am still thankful for the outside noise, it becomes such an immediate distraction from whatever thing I was spending too much time thinking about. It takes me out of myself, even for a moment.
“He was the first man I ever met who, when we were about ten feet away from each another, I could feel a force pulling us together, like there was an electrical circuit that must be completed. When we left each other I could sense its resistance. ‘Can you feel that?’ I’d sometimes ask him, and he’d say, ‘Of course.’ Then when it broke there was both loneliness and this elated, dizzy certainty of liberation…It’s very hard to know, in the early few months of a love affairs, what is real and what is imaginary. You find signs and confirmations everywhere. Men passing you on the street stop you to tell you that you’re beautiful. Random street signs or airplanes passing overhead prophesies your happiness. Yet the mind of your lover remains as closed to you as that of a face on a billboard, or a distracted cab driver fiddling with this radio.” Clancy Martin, Bad Sex
“Hostess and guest drift into the kitchen…In the kitchen bookshelves are the works of H.G. Wells. She reads them sometimes while the kettle boils, and is no longer sure if they are any good. She regrets the fact that no one will let her forget her afford with Wells: ‘Just how important is something that ends when you are thirty?’ She would rather talk, affectionately, about her late husband, Henry Andrews.” Victoria Glendinning, Rebecca West: A Life
“The more wines I tried, the less of a gamble it became. Instead, each new bottle became an opportunity to learn about wine, the world, and myself. I realized that wine was not a gamble at all, but an experience. It’s abstract yet personal, allowing you to indulge in the moment of how it physically tastes while evoking memories from taste and sensation past. In wine, there are no rules. A bottle of wine cane remind you of your adolescent summers at the beach and a field in France you’ve never seen, in the same sip.” Marisa A. Ross, Wine All The Time: The Casual Guide to Confident Drinking
It was almost the end of the cold yet snowless winter that I lived in Seattle. I spent most of my time at work, and came back every night to sleep alone in a queen-sized bed in powder blue Egyptian cotton sheets. When I was alone, I watched movies and drank coffee with a lot of cream and sugar out of small yellow cups that my mom had given me before I moved away. My scheduled days off were during the weekdays when everyone I knew was at work or in class, so I would go get my hair done, or get a pedicure, or get a bubble tea and go shopping. One day in December, I went down by the Space Needle to drop off film at a place called Panda Photo and ended up walking the whole day, even though it was cold. The sadness of the empty streets moved me, and I didn’t want to get back on the bus.
Continue reading “Notes from Downtown Seattle”
The sunlight on the waves looked like diamonds. Curvy peaks, unsettled by the tide. A banner flew in the sky advertising alcoholic seltzer and my hands felt weightless. My legs look so pale underneath the water. On the beach, the radio blasted “Saturday in the park / I think it was the Fourth of July.” Salt water puckered on my tongue but your mouth felt so clean and soft.
On the way home, our train car was empty. The sunset made squares of light on the orange seats. I watched a plane flying out of the airport.
Written August 14th, 2015
I’ve wanted to go to the beach all summer but everyone always goes on Saturdays when I work, so today I went by myself. I got the keys to my new apartment yesterday and I should really be moving my things in, but I have two weeks to do it and I think I’m going though an internal change right now – coming out of something or maybe coming into something, I don’t know – I just wanted to write and go to the beach as much as possible before it gets cold. Continue reading “Notes From Rockaway Beach”
The summer after my freshman year of college, I spent six weeks in Bakersfield, California living with my cousin in my grandma’s house.
Every day I would walk downtown to the coffee shop, drink an iced coffee, eat a chicken salad sandwich, and write at a table by the window. One day, I needed some contact solution at the drugstore and thought I should pick it up before I walked back home. I knew the drugstore was somewhere by the train station, but when I got there, I couldn’t find it. I saw a young black man in a red teeshirt standing outside and asked him if he knew where CVS was.
“Yeah,” he started to explain but then cut himself off – “Oh you know, I’m not doing anything – I’ll just walk you there.” No, I said, that’s fine – but he insisted. All summer, I had been followed by men in broad daylight until they gave up or I found some place to duck into like an antique store. But I wanted to be nice to him because he was being nice to me, so I let him walk me to CVS where I bought contact solution, a little annoyed. Continue reading “A Day With A Stranger: Bakersfield”
“Big drops hung on the bushes and just did not fall; the silvery, fluffy toi-toi was limp on its long stalks, and all the marigolds and the pinks in the bungalow gardens were bowed to the earth with wetness. Drenched were the cold fuchsias, round pearls of dew lay on the flat nasturtium leaves. It looked as though the sea had beaten up softly in the darkness, as though one immense wave had come rippling, rippling—how far?” -Katherine Mansfield, “At The Bay”
“She wondered if tomorrow would fill her with so strange a stirring as today. Soon, in a few months, it would be summer and there would be nothing more to come. Summer would be beautiful, but this spring made promise of a greater beauty than summer could fulfill.” – Elizabeth Bowen, “Daffodils”
“It is the only time that I am thankful for being a woman, that time of evening when I draw the curtains, take off my old clothes, and prepare to go out. Minute by minute the excitement grows. I brush my hair under the light and the colors are autumn leaves in the sun. I shadow my eyelids with black stuff and am astonished by the look of mystery it gives to my eyes. I hate being a woman. Vain and shallow and superficial. Tell a woman that you love her and she’ll ask you to write it down so she can show it to her friends. But I am happy at that time of night. I feel tender toward the world, I pet the wallpaper as if it were white rose petals flushed pink at the edges; I pick up my old, tired shoes and they are silver flowers that some man has laid outside my door. I kissed myself in the mirror and ran out of the room, happy and hurried and suitably mad.” – Edna O’Brien, Country Girls