Tuesday, June 26, 2007

moving to the leeward side

Change is always hard. There are the inevitable recriminations; you think it's not that bad it was never that bad.

You remember all the good times. And the bad ones. You begin to notice everything, reading fortunes in patters and adding up things that go down.

Yesterday was homey. Today was like this:

And things have been stressful at home. Your roommate comes into your room and asks if there is anything she can do. She has clearly seen the birthday cake, baked.

There is nothing she can do. The birthday party is tomorrow, and your boxes will be gone by then. All of the really fun stuff is packed. The books, the cooking things. The useful drawers all gone empty.

Or nearly so. (lemon verbena ice cream, cantaloupe sorbet, pear sorbet, pear ginger scones for Sunday, rose petals, lemon verbena, coffee, frozen chicken broth, frozen enchilada sauce, pistachios, more coffee)

You are quiet while she stands in the doorway. You know you will remain friends but that things are weird right now. You are not sure how the information current works in this house. You cook the birthday cake and then to use the half and half that is two days passed and the eggs you had to buy for the cake you make butterscotch pudding. The flavor is complicated in your mouth. You like the distraction from packing up, but then you have to pack up your kitchen things, most of them. Food is something level to hold on to, but it is also emotional currency. Food is something concrete, food means you are still here, cooking is a thing you can do where the rules are always the same (and always clear). And you don't like the way your body feels when you eat out every night, or at least the kind of meals that are readily available to you where you live now.

You take the dog out. You know the Fruitvale house was only a temporary option. It's hard to believe you've been here four months already. When you moved to Oakland, you had three boxes and a station wagon. You had nothing, but now you have so much more. You can't move across the Bay Bridge in one trip, this time.

If you had stuck to the original plan, this is about the time you would have been heading back to Boston. Your internship would have been over and you would have maybe been kicking around for one more month or so. If you hadn't like it here, finally, that is. And now you've been in California for double the amount of time you previously had (always in the East Bay, though). You got fired from the internship. You got a job at a cute bakery, which uses locally sourced products and makes cupcakes that taste good. You think about the internship, turning it over in your mind. You would be done by now. You wonder what happened with the other interns, if things were different for them. You avoid the Food Mill because you don't want to run into Miette people but sometimes you do and stories trickle down to you. You think about all the reasons this move is right for you. You think too much. A woman steps out of a car in a marijuana haze and starts talking to you or mostly to the dog. In between coos she chats you up I like your belt, ooh, I like your shorts and you try to have a reaction other than ...... She wants to see you around again and you nod like this is normal, shake your head at Oakland as you walk down the street, walk slowly home. You let yourself have some of that butterscotch pudding you made earlier. Your dog passes out at the other end of the bed. All around you the emptinesses glare out. You are trying just to be a little still, in the middle of the craziness around you, but you wonder if you've taken advantage of every opportunity. If you've had all your last looks. You know you'll come back at least occasionally, after all it isn't that far and you have actual friends in the East Bay but still you return like a lover to your favorite spots. As you walk, you never fail to be surprised by seeing something, or someone, differently, even as everything else changes shape.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like this 2nd person writing. Maybe you should write a short story in this style. Know who this is? I'll remain anonymous, since you may need some cheering up, and the mystery of who's reading this should help on those butterscotch pudding nights.

Busy all the time. said...

No, I don't know who you are, though I have a couple suspicions. Another clue, perhaps? If you know me IRL, then you should know how I hate little mysteries. ;)