There is a very uniquely styled, plus-size, sea foam green hair sporting Asian who works four doors away from my office. She wears a-line dresses with a variety of patterns, and tights which never coordinate, with colorful sneakers or boots with thick socks. Her expression is often solemn and indifferent; she never really looks back at me. She does not say hi and when I walk by her or with her to the restroom we are closest to, we never exchange niceties.
My favorite dress of hers is dark purple with constellations all over it.
Her roots have grown in and they are marked by the way she styles her hair. Often in two sloppily styled ponytails or some braids. When her hair is down her bangs fluff up into random directions.
I find myself wondering how wildly dull I am to her, but my hello stays in the back of my throat and I wash my hands as she dries hers and we resume our respective work days.
I have a recurring nightmare about a great wave approaching, and like any reasonable person after said nightmare I immediately set to the task of googling what the wave symbolizes every time I dream about it.
My dream is always a bit different. Sometimes I’m on a luxury ship (once with my three year old niece, another time with my boyfriend) trying to protect them as the wave s l o w l y builds from a distance. Other times I am a victim, being chased by an unidentifiable man while the wave approaches to alter the circumstance in which I’d be (happily) killed by it instead of him.
This time was completely different. I was on a beach I had never been to. It was dark, yet crowded with people sitting on the surf, much in the way people would at a night concert. Everyone was looking at their smart phones, and while this would seem strange to real-life me? Dream-me waded in the water unblinking. I was with my mother and she did the same, but she was also looking at her smart phone. I don’t recall having mine.
I looked straight toward the horizon and I saw the wave as it began to grow. I remember thinking, “Is this really what’s going to happen? I thought I was done with this nightmare.” But it washed over everyone and we were swept away with it. More waves grew and hit us relentlessly; we were thrust about and I allowed it to happen, I didn’t have a fight in me. I don’t think I wondered where my mom was, I knew she could take care of herself.
My nightmare shifted into something strange. I was living under the water, walking on the ocean floor. Others were doing the same, I even found my mom happily sorting through her handmade Ravello ceramic pottery. It was in that moment I realized all of my possessions were around me, but I ignored them. Instead I looked intently for my boyfriend’s PS3 which was recently gifted to him (though he rarely plays with it) and became frantic thinking I destroyed it with the waves.
I woke up wondering if this was a strange sort of resolution to the fear of the wave overtaking me. But unsettled over what it meant to survive and live with it.
There is a woman who every day at a quarter past twelve leaves her office building and lights up a Virginia Slim. I only know it’s a Virginia Slim because of its distinct narrow and long appearance (it was also my grandmother’s brand of choice).
The woman also looks like her name might be Virginia.
Virginia let’s her cigarette dangle elegantly from her mouth as she enters the sunlight and walks purposefully toward a small pod in the complex. Once she arrives she will pace and intermittently take drags with her two fingers very close to her mouth.
Virginia always wears mid-length skirts with low heels. The pattern and color of her outfits vary; she has no routine palette. She has a slight backward arch to her torso and she moves languidly, yet there’s a strange alertness to her. Her face, masked with sunglasses, rarely looks anywhere but directly in front of her. Sometimes she chats softly on her phone, other times she simply lets her cigarette dangle from her mouth.
Her age is observable by some faint wrinkles on her tanned arms, always exposed under Florida’s persistent heat. Her hair is light blonde (perhaps dyed but never neglected) and freely maintained in that she allows wisps of it to frame her face.
She walks back to her office in a timely manner, and I’m left wondering what her life is truly like outside of this mediocrity.
How am I not writing during this time in my life, where change is seeping into every little safe corner I’ve ever known? Writing is sanity for me, and it always has been. Whenever something was difficult, I didn’t need to wait until I had access to a keyboard; I ripped out an old diary and began scribbling even the most mundane thoughts and bringing them to life.
When I look back on those scribblings, sometimes I’m brought to tears. I love the connection I have to my old self. It’s so important to document even the happy times, not simply in Instagram updates or Facebook shares, but in words.
I pulled into my driveway and saw a sales sign in my front yard. The home I’ve lived in for the past seven years now has people walking through it, fancying themselves in it. The little window I like to sit in our kitchen and eat yogurt and talk to my boyfriend might have someone else sitting in it soon. The den where I stretch into Warrior 3, or collapse into child’s pose might someday have someone else doing the same; or worse, not doing anything to that open space I like to pretend is my own personal fitness studio.
The pool that I like to sit on the front step and stare up at this very stately tree, will have someone else sitting in it. They might not look up at that tree and pretend the leaves are waving at them. I almost wanted to write my tree, because it has been mine, hasn’t it?
I understand attachment to things and possessions is actually unhealthy. It’s as if I could run around that entire home claiming it like a cat rubs against its owner. I would do it if I could. And although I know change is good, I can’t help feeling horrible as I walk through my newly sterile home. We are proclaimed minimalists; but our home has taken on a new kind of lifeless feel to it, as if no one is giving it any happiness anymore. A home isn’t a person, but it sure feels that way lately. I feel like I could wrap my arms around the walls and say, “Thank you.”
The thing is I know I could get that feeling again, and that it’s going to be okay.
I was at a stop sign in my neighborhood, watching a kid scream in another kid’s face. He wasn’t screaming anything specific, he would go around the other kid in circles, yelling “HA! HA! HA! HA” in a shrill fashion.
The kid receiving this treatment had headphones and was looking straight ahead with an expression I’m too familiar with.
My heart pulled for him. I wanted to get out of my car, and yank the other kid away from him. Scream, “HA, HA, HA, HA” in his face. But I had already stayed at the stop sign too long, so I drove away. I knew even if I thought of a more rational way to interfere; it wouldn’t solve anything.
Someone’s doing enough damage to the kid who feels the need to bully.
I’ll start by remembering the comforter. The fabric was coarse, and it had a pattern spread across a faded yellow background. Maybe it was beige, but it felt more like the color of old newspaper. Anyway, the pattern I remember was smears of pastel colors all over, as if someone had taken a brittle paint brush and made some half-hearted attempt at a design.
There was wallpaper in our room of multi-colored ballerinas. I’d fixate on one girl (brunette bun, blonde bun, red-head bun) at a time; as if they could come alive and twirl across the parts that were peeled back from bored curiosity.
Mandy was in the room with me, she is my twin sister. She had one leg dangling over the other; her foot bobbed up and down, and a book was pressed to her face. She was reading because that’s what she always did back then, she read everything. When she was reading you had to take care not to interrupt her.
Sam was in the room with me too, she is our younger cousin (two years apart), but we’d never acknowledge this. As far as we were concerned, we were triplets.
I’ve been tweeting a lot, but not writing lately. I guess for me tweeting a lot is churning out two/three tweets per week. I know some folks can keep ’em coming all day, which is a gift I can’t attest to having. Anxiety keeps me from sharing too much, or saying something which may cause offense.
Writing is my favorite. Mostly studying people, or rather the people I pass by in the course of a day. Whether it’s my unforgivingly loud neighbors to the right of our house (they have a serious addiction to blasting reggaton from their truck), or the quiet neighbors to our left (the wife tends to her rose garden when her arthritis allows it; the husband walks the dog every morning just before the sun comes up).
Then there’s the married couple across the street. When I pull in from work the husband is often sitting in their garage, a bit disheveled looking, with the same white t-shirt he wore the day before. I don’t know what he’s working on, but we say hi to each other and I walk inside before a “How are you?” can be uttered. I like that he seems to be okay with that.
Sometimes when I’m down on myself for feeling mediocre, I remember I care enough to write about these seemingly trivial moments I collect. And that none of these people I meet, or observe, are mediocre to me. They’re all living and breathing on this earth during the same time I’m living and breathing on this earth; and I love that.