Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I'd Like To Go To Pittsburgh

I want to go to Pittsburgh
and see some grass and some trees
and walk down Forbes Avenue
and stand in the shadow of the Cathedral of Learning.

I'd like to go to Pittsburgh
where the ghost of the old me lives, back on Oakland Square.
I didn't mean to leave her behind--how did that happen?
She would hardly recognize me now, you know.

She is back there somewhere, still wearing her blue jean overalls
and wool clogs
and cutting her own hair
and wandering up and down Atwood Street.

Now I wear impossible work clothing,
all pretty dresses and fancy shoes.
Fancy, fancy shoes.
Now I rush up and down Second Avenue, which smells of pee.

I need to go to Pittsburgh,
and practice breathing slowly.
In and out. In and out.

It's been so long since I've had a sunburn.
The good kind, the kind that you get from drinking beer
in a sunny field and losing track of time.

The kind that when you go to bed at night you can still feel it on your face,
and then you sleep deeply and without dreaming
and wake up the next morning
filled with the urge to eat pancakes.

I never realized I would miss these things so much:
Barking dogs running through a backyard
smoky bars filled with rock music
and all of the stars in the sky at night

Just one week and I'll be home.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Conversation at the Corner of 64th and Second Ave

I'm walking to work, trying to negotiate my two tote bags and Betty, who is pulling on her leash and hoovering up random pieces of trash from the sidewalk, causing me to yank on the leash and yell "Drop it! Drop it now!" over and over again.

Betty and I sidestep a random pile of raw chicken thighs someone has spilled on the corner (no, I'm not kidding), and wait at the curb for the light to change. An older woman with mussed hair approaches me. She is sunburned, her face streaked with dirt, her eyes grave.

She leans forward and asks, "Do you have any more cheese?" She is quite serious.

"No," I say. "I'm sorry, I don't."

"Okay," says the woman. "Thanks anyway."

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Opposite of Eavesdropping

Is there a word for a situation in which you are forced to listen in on someone else’s inane conversation? If there isn’t a word for it, there should be.

Here’s part of the conversation I had to endure while in the coffee line this morning:

Trader #1: Dude, are you around this weekend?

Trader #2: No, man, I have to go to my little cousin’s 21st birthday party.

Trader #1: Too bad.

Trader #2: Yeah, but my cousin’s like, smokin’ hot, so it should be cool.

Monday, June 04, 2007

365 Days Later

And so, spiceboy and I have made the long journey down the higgledy-piggledy trail known as the first year of marriage, and yesterday we crossed the finish line.

Our shoes are a bit scuffed, and we get the occasional blister, but all in all we’re learning how to hold hands and walk at the same time (difficult for me, as I’m extremely clumsy), and we manage to make each other laugh more often than we make each other cry, which I take as a good sign.

And yesterday, as I went about my business, I couldn’t help but imagine the ghost of myself from last year, rushing around doing last minute wedding day errands, and I thought about how nothing is ever as we expect it to be, and how important it is to be true to yourself, because that’s the only way you’re ever going to be good at loving anybody.

And the lyrics to a song I haven’t thought of in years was running through my head all day yesterday, as if on repeat:

i remember the time when i came so close to you
i let everything go it seemed the only truth
and i bought you that ring it seemed the thing to do
what makes me think i could start clean slated
the hardest to learn was the least complicated

Happy anniversary, spiceboy.