Tuesday, March 21, 2006

this dress

I am surprised today, walking across the flagstones, reaching into the sleeve of my gray sweatshirt for the black band to tie my hair back, and it is not there. It is always there, an elastic around my right wrist, always my right so I can reach in with my left. It is always there, like the black sweater I used to wear, one in a long line of black sweaters which were not really sweaters: cardigans of some thin acrylic that was ribbed and clung to dirt. I was always leaving them in theatres and on the back of chairs. My friend used to say every time she saw me in that sweater, she wanted to snatch it off my back and wash it.

I wore this dress today.

Deliberate, I choose a path that keeps me in the sun.

Chai and advice with a new friend (hi new friend!); she talks of protecting your identity as a writer.

My face is an open book. Everything I feel I wear. Protect yourself always, an older friend said once, but I am wearing my coat unbuttoned in the wind. I am without gloves, burning my fingers on the damn stove again, flushing red with cold. I could be robbed at any moment, lost, swept away.

But it has not happened yet.

There are so many beautiful people in the world.

The security guard and I have semiotic relationship. He looks up from his reading when I enter in the morning and nods. He approves, was at first surprised then delighted that I showed up so much. I show up so much, you see. He looks in my bag to check for stolen books, but he is not looking hard anymore. He sees the water bottle, the banana, the tomato soup, and says nothing.

Soon, I will smuggle out a circus elephant.

On my path in the sun, I saw an elderly man in a trench coat with a closed blue umbrella he was using as a walking stick. I saw him through gaps in the stone pillars, clockwork striding like a palace guard. An Asian girl whizzed by on her bicycle, her hair back in a sideways bun, green glasses, holding out her arms.

There are so many beautiful people in the world. How would anyone--?