Wednesday, January 11, 2006

california moods

It hasn't been the best few days, despite the energy of Sunday, arriving again here on the other coast. It was bright and warm, T-shirt weather, perpetual spring. That's the thing about this city. It keeps feeling like winter is over, winter's on the wing. We're all just stepping out for the first time, seeing the first leaf, the first bird.

But it's not spring. It's January, and other times I feel it. Not the cold, but the distance between me and cold. Does that make sense? It's a lie we're all living, this California thing.

On the other side of the country, there is blue ice and brown fields and my best friends and my lover and my parents alone in their houses, and it hurts. And here it is like it never happened. And you might think that's good, but you would be wrong. I believe in turning around and facing. I believe we should call the field of guns a field of guns and not flowers. That's not paint on your shirt. I will not pretend to be a balm or a breath or a mirabelle.

I am fine one day and horrible the next. That's the way it works. Sometimes my hair curls up and sometimes it swings straight.

There was mail waiting on the counter.

But then crepes man and the cheese man in my little neighborhood waved.

I got drunk instantly when the salt touched my lips, and my new old friends raised their glasses and clinked, and we had good news to celebrate, good things happening to good people. But that is not all the time. There is also the walk home: cold and fog. There is also the letter. There is also alone.

I believe in signs, and in the rather Greek and Joan of Arcadia notion of hope coming to us to others, the gods speaking to us through the grocery store clerk. So when the grocery store clerk says to me, is everything okay? I have to believe it means something, not just those words, not just have I found the eggplant, not just have I weighed the corn, I have to believe he meant, is everything okay? And when I said yes, he said, I'm here if you need anything.

And when he said, I'm here if you need anything, I have to believe it was more than him.