Last night I scraped the back of a foot against city pavement. I didn’t fall exactly, I just … drifted. Gracelessly. It didn’t stop the night.
When I woke up today, muddled by morning, my scraped skin sang to me from a tower of bandage and pillow. Operatic wails, reminding me that the song of healing requires an admission fee of patience.
I am always surprised by what we carry forward.
Last night, I sat in front of three desserts, and dipped my spoon in all of them. After that, unfilled, I walked to a Greek restaurant and sat in front of a platter of mixed appetizers and ate through them by myself. There was a moment, with a falafel in one hand and a half-bitten dolmade in the other, where I watched the grapeleaf wrapping sag in waiting as I thought about how all this eating would probably ruin my appetite tomorrow.
It did not.
But as I scooped feta into pita, I watched the tapas place across the street and I noticed for the first time that the floor above was illuminated for dancing. There was a mannequin or statue in a white dress and a flamenco pose– larger than life– her posed back facing the street window.
I am not a dancer, but I woke up with that image of contrast in mind. There was something so captivating about the woman frozen in movement, illuminated in a dark room, facing away from the street-view window that she was pressed against.
The night was not all dim, of course. In my city, the palm trees usually wear Christmas lights, and sometimes wear knitted sweaters, and the Greek place I like best is near both types of palms. A friend who passed recently used to call them Grandmas and Cats. The Grandmas were in the knitted wear, and the Cats had gotten into the lighting yet again.
Yes, to my friend, it was always Christmas in Long Beach.
Last week, a dear friend of my roommate’s came to stay with us. We’ve never been able to have a guest over before, because we always seem to be dealing with something bigger than a scrape. We toured our city with the friend, taking the AquaBus from our area to where it goes.
The AquaBus is basically what it sounds like. It’s a boat ride that takes a bus route and costs bus fare. We stood at the front and the let the ocean salt us.
It takes you from my stomping grounds, where a Pirate Festival was happening around a shopping center, to an area of my city where there are more boats than pavement that can scrape you, more variations of fish than worldly appetizers. It is a whole different place.
I am always surprised by what we define something by.
This morning, a friend texted me to ask if I wanted to go to the Greek restaurant today. She was at the tapas nightclub across the way last night, a floor under the giant of a woman frozen in time, and really noticed the Greek restaurant, a long time fixture of this city, for the first time.
I think it’s fair to say that everyone lives in a different Long Beach, California, and maybe everyone lives in an entirely different world.
I think it’s fair to say that the world seems noisy often, ocean salted, and sun baked, and tired, and toured– and the pitch of the opera can be ear-splitting from how close we stand to it all.
But healing sings, twice as loud as scrapes wail, and I am always trying to remind myself that we get to decide what we define something by. And sometimes, sometimes, we get to choose what we carry with us.
[Screenreaders: The following embeds are from Instagram. Posts from @rawra.avis (that’s me!), @mynameismud (the roomie!), and @corykaufmann.pics (the roommate’s bff). All accounts are public and fine to follow, though Cory’s is the only that regularly posts similar/regular content. I liked these because they show how three people experienced the exact same $5 bus route.)
6 thoughts on “journal 8.7”
The mention of a Greek restaurant brought back memories of the ones I have been to in Bowling Green and Lexington. I miss them so much, especially the comfort of Anna’s.
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Wishing you comforting Greek restaurants in your near future!
Thank you! 😊💕
It is euch a different world where you are from here, the land of fields planted with crops or endless stands of trees. Both are good, just different. I like seeing glimpses of other worlds. I also liked the ” we stood at the front and let the ocean salt us” line. “OH, I thought, that’s good.”
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I grew up in a place like what you just described, and have fond memories of the beauty of it all. Thank you for being here. 🙂❤️
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This was a lovely journey to go on. Lovely and light. We too have aquabusses in Van. I love them, salt and all. And I tasted all that Greek food since we’ve just recently returned from Greece. Yum.
We do all live in a different world. I like these glimpses into yours.