May 19, 2009

reprieve

the season is over now, and very slowly I am going back to feeling human: actually feeling awake when my alarm goes off (or better yet, waking before it); weaning myself from a diet totally comprised of pastries, cookies, candy, coffee, and late night bar food; doing the dishes, taking out the trash, picking up the clothes I've abandoned to the carpet; gradually getting done the long list of essentials I had inevitably discarded as things got too hectic (like getting the oil changed, paying the bills on time, searching for a new house for my move in july). if history is any indication, it will take a few weeks to unravel the stress ball of the last weeks and months. last year it took me all summer (but that's another story).

so I'm beginning to gear up for a summer of going places. in nine days I'm headed to california. my sister's already got guitar hero primed and waiting for play, and I've got a tiara that says BIRTHDAY GIRL swiped from among the things we moved out of cristina's apartment this past weekend. in disneyland next friday I plan on hugging every character we see, buying a pair of mouse ears, and gleefully riding mr. toad's wild ride. twice. in june I'm headed to hawaii to visit a high school friend and his wife for an extended weekend. hawaii! I would be happy even if they just plunked me down on the beach and left me for the entire four days. maybe with a pineapple. do they grow pineapples in hawaii? I don't know. it doesn't matter.

in july I'm headed back east to spend a few days on the beach with my cousins, a trip that will involve a day's drive down 95 through the middle of virginia, through damp heat and traffic, and which will wind down a back highway in northern north carolina, on a two lane road on which you can stop at least twice for homemade peach ice cream in styrofoam cups, served to you sometimes by a little boy with a thick backcountry accent. you can ride with the windows down and listen to music and think of that day several years ago, in college, when you and your cousin smoked an entire pack of cigarettes on this very ride, and you sang along to phantom of the opera, and swapped stories about boyfriends and ex-boyfriends (her boyfriend then is her fiancee now; by the fall she'll be a bride). that day you pulled in late to the island -- the houses were mostly dark, and you'd opted for aerosmith as your entrance music -- and you were ecstatic to be in that place you had conjured in your mind's eye for months as around you your world -- consisting primarily of the boyfriend you were leaving, had left -- came crumbling down. you and your cousin walked barefoot up the wood steps to the porch and slid open the glass door, entering into the cool dark of the air conditioned living room, your uncle watching TV, your aunt awake and waiting. that night you walked out to the dark ocean to put your feet in -- and how warm! you had forgotten -- and then with damp sandy feet you walked back up the path to the house, stood in the open kitchen, dimly lit, and ate a cold steamed crab straight from the fridge. later in your bedroom you sat and looked at the wood paneling, and the white pattern of the dresser, and marveled how accurately you had remembered it all during the winter and spring when it was the one place your imagination could take you to make you feel better about the reality of your life; you sat on that bed at midnight, the myrtle flower on the pillow a token from your oldest cousin's young daughter, and thought exquisitely that there was not a single thing on this earth that you wished for or wanted in this moment; that this might be, quite simply, by virtue of its uncomplicated completeness, the happiest day of your life.

that's where I'm headed this summer. also I'll be home in maryland, hanging with my siblings and eating snowballs.

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