Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Wine. Deep, red wine. I reach out with both hands and enfold the cup, bow my head, and sip.

"This is the blood."

A white napkin is wiped quickly across the glass' brim, removing my lip's imprint. And then the cup is passed--to the next and then the next, turning like a clock. We pass the time. Thousands of years of time.

She comes, a mother and a wife. A leader in this place. She stands close, and tears flood in her eyes as she dips her fingers into a bowl of black.

"From ashes you came, and to ashes you shall return."

I lift my bangs with my hand, and she presses a cross upon my forehead. Her fingers are warm and the ashes are rough. 

And I want to weep. For the sacred moment, for the profundity of the faith, for the strange symbol of death upon my face. A death that leads to the only hope on earth. A death that leads to life.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Valentine for Zoe

From the writing workshop, a piece of fiction, especially for Valentine's Day...

   "Is this yours?"
   Zoe looked down at the half-eaten box of chocolates sitting on the park bench, and she shook her head.
   "So then you don't mind if I eat one?" 
   The man reached out his pale, white hand and chose a nut cluster from the assortment. Zoe watched him from the corner of her eye. Her mother had always told her not to make eye contact-that it was rude. But people in this country were always staring. They stared at her on the bus and in the train. They stared from behind their black leather steering wheels as she crossed the street with her bicycle. But she never stared back.
   "You have pretty black hair," the man said, licking the melting chocolate from his fingers. "But your eyes are green, aren't they? That's unusual."
   Zoe kept quiet. She could barely understand what he was saying. Her English wasn't quite fluent yet, and although she had moved with her mother from France to Boston a year ago, she was just now six, and still found herself confused at times.
   "Where is your mommy?" the man asked. He took a white hankerchief from his inner suit pocket and slowly wiped his hands. "Your mommy works at the library doesn't she?"
   At this Zoe met the man's gaze.
   "Yes," he smiled. "You look just like her."
   "My mother doesn't like me to talk to strangers," Zoe said quietly. She watched as the man stood from the bench and closed the box of chocolates.
   "Give this to her for me, will you?" he asked, reaching into his pants pocket to reveal a small, red envelope. On the front it said, "Happy Valentines."
   I don't think she'd accept it from me, but if you bring it to her for me, maybe she will."
   Zoe reached out and took the envelope, which was small but thick.
   "It is good to meet you, Zoe. Even if I am a stranger."
   The man turned to leave, clutching the box of chocolates in his right hand.
   Zoe looked down at the red envelope as he walked, his shoes clicking on the pavement. The envelope was not sealed and she spread the card inside to find a stack of green papers. Hundred dollar bills. And she got back on her bicycle, and pedaled quickly home.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Anniversary with Acknowledgments

A year ago today I moved back to San Diego from L.A., and subsequently from Maine. A lot has happened in one year. I’d like to take a minute to express my acknowledgements…

Thanks to Krakatoa, for not only employing me, but for giving me a social life when I moved to the new and now much-beloved area that is Golden Hill. Because of my association with the cafĂ©, I am not only the “coffee-shop girl” (a title I hold with great respect and honor), but I often get free items, such as martinis and slices of New York pie. And I’ve made some really great acquaintances. Rory, I love it when you scream my name.

Here’s one for Hamilton’s, for always offering a chilled pint to grasp and a cozy wooden booth in which to rest. And kudos for carrying Portland, ME beer on tap.

To the San Diego City Library. A strange one, I know. The homeless people stooped in bags on the sidewalk for the night only add to the charm when one frequents the library twenty minutes after closing time. But if it weren’t for this book-lending center, I would not have discovered the beauty that is Joan Didion’s A Year of Magical Thinking, or Annie Dilliard’s Tinker Creek. So many great books read in the year since graduation. Thank God for the hiatus of the syllabus.

A shout out to my friends at San Diego Magazine, who have managed to make my resume ten times more impressive than it actually is.

A plug for Pat’s Corner in North Park. If it weren’t for this woman, I would still be sleeping on the most uncomfortable pullout couch known to man. In fact, that’s where I slept on this very night a year ago on this very day. And it was what got me to run to Pat’s and buy a $20 used bed from Ikea. The bed has held up for a whole year, and despite the visible dip in the center, offers a pretty decent resting ground.

To the pool of Point Loma alums, who spice up my life with their artwork, music, and creative genius. Combined, we shall take the world by storm. Anyone? Anyone?

A plea to my garden, to ward off the birds, squirrels, and caterpillars. How hard is it really to grow a head of lettuce? Pretty frickin hard. Let’s dress to impress in 2010.

A “thank you” to my family for allowing me to call them at nine-o’clock at night to say that I am, without a doubt, going to jump off the Coronado Bridge if my back doesn’t stop hurting. Well, thanks to multiple acupuncture sessions, massages, and chiropractic adjustments, (which they paid for, mind you), the back is doing much better. And I know longer want to die.

Here’s to hoping Thomas’s Bike Shop in South Park accepts my offer for a trade-in to a bike that actually fits my body. Frankly, my Ortlieb bike bag cries itself to sleep every night in my closet, and the fact that it has yet to see the light of day or feel the whirl of the back tire, is too depressing to…  See? I can’t go on…

To my friend Kaity Michael. She recently said I never mention her in my blog. Bullshit.

A much needed caress to Angella’s cat, Lyra. I don’t hate you cat, really. True, I freak out when you jump on my food, or stick your front paws in the toilet, but in general you are one of the prettiest cats I’ve ever known. And your persona, and your red bandana, is cute as hell, and will make its way into a short story in the future. I will miss you both when you move…

Speaking of roommates, to Gretchen for putting up with my laughter in the middle of the night. I can’t help it, Anthony and his madras bow-ties from Project Runway make their way into my dreams, and I become a basket-case.

I stayed longer than I planned, but it’s been a pretty good year. Or as Joan would say, magical.

Good night, and happy anniversary.