Swallowing fruit flies
“Mommy, what are you doing in there?” Jenny knocks incessantly on the bathroom door. I watch the handle jerk up and down as she tries to get in.
Just like her
(It is said that marigolds symbolize cruelty, grief and jealousy. They show strong passion...) I swirl the foam in my cappuccino. It's been a while since I took a sip, however I am trying to make this one last. I've already had two cups and she is late today. I hope nothing happened. I'm debating ordering a biscotti or scone to prolong my stay at the café, and to subside my lightheadedness. The combination of the hot August sun and strong caffeine are causing me to feel unwell. The waiter comes up to check on me again, so I order a pistachio almond scone. She orders that every day and makes it look so good. As I'm watching my waiter walk away, a bright, yellow figure appears in my peripherals. She is here. She sits down gracefully at a patio table facing the street, as she always does. She's a people watcher. I guess you can say, I am too.
My dearest, Sophia
My dearest, Sophia Today is the most important day of your life. No, I'm not talking about your wedding day, or graduation. While these are monumental celebrations, there is only one moment in life that will forever change you, shaking you to your very core. It is the day you become a mother. I know this, because it was that for me. The moment I heard your cries, the moment the nurse pressed you against my bare body; I knew I'd never be the same. It was only a few seconds of staring into your deep blue eyes that I already feared time. Time was fleeting away from me; from us. I blinked away the tears that blurred my vision, making it difficult for me to focus on your beautiful, beautiful face. Your father wiped my tears for me with a small hospital towel so I wouldn't have to cease embracing you in my arms to do so myself. He kissed your forehead gently, and then my lips and I tasted a subtle hint of tobacco on his breath. Your father was so nervous but remained composed not to worry me. Minutes before you were ready to arrive he was outside pacing with a menthol cigarette; it was the last one he ever had.
A slice of hope.
I am laying in bed staring up, making out images in the skip trowel ceiling. I can faintly identify an elephant with a hat, and an alligator walking on his hind legs. It isn’t the most productive way to spend a Saturday morning, but it’s allowing me to stall going downstairs. I can already hear rummaging in the kitchen. It’s been ten years; you would think I’d be used to it by now. But every year it is still as awkward and uncomfortable as the one before. You know that tightness in your chest you feel; that lump in your throat when your heart is broken? Well, I’ve never been heart-broken, but every year my heart breaks for her and I feel those things so deeply. I’ve never been good at the whole empathy thing, so perhaps the disdain for this day is selfish. If it were up to me, I would sleep the whole day away avoiding it all together, but I know she needs me there, even if it's just my presence in the kitchen while she bakes him his cake.
I am alternating between the AC and opening and closing the window, not to wear out the car battery. It feels like the hottest day of the year; but I said that yesterday, too. My patience is wearing thin as my three year-old cries in the back, hot and restless.
8:02 AM. I lay still in my bed. In twenty-eight minutes, give or take, Jocelyn will come and bring me my tea and a pastry from ‘Adele’s’. Yesterday it was a plum muffin. I didn’t care for it, but I can’t be picky. She is after all doing this out of the goodness of her heart. Before tending to her patients as a nurse at the hospital, she tests her patience every morning with me. I feel like I have to use the bathroom, but I avoid going until I finally cannot hold it. Regular bodily functions have become a nuisance in my mundane existence. I lay back down, and pull the covers past my neck, right up to my nose. The faint smell of sawdust still remains on the duvet. It’s a bit worn out and browned, but I refuse to wash it. It’s one of the few things I have left of him. 8:18 AM. I stare at the ceiling, blinking away thoughts of his face, and memories of his laugh. I look to my right at the curtains. Every morning I wait for Jocelyn to open them for me. I spend the day staring at the ocean and watching a sailboat in the distance. It has somehow become my friend. Whoever is on this boat probably has no idea they’ve been watched for three months and ten days. The first time I noticed it was the morning after Sam passed. I woke up and forced myself out of bed. My feet felt as if they were being weighed down by anchors. I felt as if I had forgotten how to move them. But I managed to stand upright and opened the curtains to a new day. Everything was the same. The trees swaying with the wind, the cigarette ashtray on the patio table. He was gone, but life continued as if nothing was different. Except the boat, that was new. That day I sat on my bed and stared at that boat until dusk. And the next day, and the next. Sam made me promise not to dwell and ‘live my life to the fullest’. I despised that phrase. He’d be so disappointed in me if he saw me now. Laying in bed and developing a romantic attachment to a faraway sailboat. Now, three months and ten days later, everything is the same. I stare at the sandy pink and white curtain ready for my day to begin once Jocelyn arrives to open it.
You had me
Her. Red suit, black shirt. Red suit… black shirt. My eyes are soft as I scan the bar. I drink a water with a lime wedge disguised as a vodka neat, while I am in disguise as well. On the outside I appear to be a young woman, in a busy bar on a Friday night. A woman open to the opportunity of meeting a man. My disguise is believable. Luscious, curly black locks fall onto my bare shoulders, just reaching the top of my little black dress. It flatters my curvy but petite silhouette and I sit in a way that reveals my slim, toned legs, down to my opened-toe gold heels. My façade is convincing, even though it’s not hiding the anxiety in my chest. It is not conceited to admit I was put on this task because of my appearance. Even with my hair in a ponytail under my black cap, and unflattering federal agent uniform it was apparent why I was approached for the task. It wasn’t a matter of opinion; I was undeniably attractive. Do not mistake that with cockiness, or confidence, because oh no, I am not that. Cocky or confident that is. I am good at the job I have. Sharp, clerical, a fact seeker. I was never one for attention. I was happy sitting at my desk and going through stacks of evidence. I don’t do anything unordinary; I’ve never been outside of Chicago. I would disappear in my work and made it a goal to disappear in any room. Yet now I am forced to sit in this bar and do anything but disappear. The goal is to be noticed, approached, and engaged. I am nothing but bait for a dangerous creature. Red shirt, black suit. I have memorized his face, perhaps too well. I take another sip of my water with lime and see a blurry figure through the glass as I hold it near my face. My heart races as we make eye contact. Red shirt, black suit. More gorgeous than I was prepared for. Black and white candid photos didn’t do his features any justice. My mind echoed with instructions from my superiors. Get close to him. We need him in a vulnerable situation. The first step is to make him trust you, to want you.
Yada yada yada, this show is pretty, pretty good.
I don’t care who you are, or where you’re from. You could be a born and raised American, or a Native of a small Peruvian village, but if you hear the word “Seinfeld” you will know exactly what that means. It’s not referred to as one of the most genial comedy sitcoms of all time for no reason. For a ‘show about nothing’ it has a whole lot of something! A wonderfully bizarre story line following the lives of four socially inept friends living in the heart of New York City. Now there are tons of other shows one can argue has its similarities. A group of friends or family based in a popular city with their own funny scenarios living day to day life; sounds the same to me, right? Absolutely wrong. Seinfeld’s jokes are elite, the situations are incomparable, and the characters are like no one you’d ever meet. There’s Cosmo Kramer, the loveable and goofy next-door neighbour who lives in our hearts rent free. His comedic approach is very slapstick, almost like a modern-day Buster Keaton. There’s Elaine Benes, the leading lady of the gang. She’s funny, neurotic, and she has a certain masculine touch to her strong feminine presence, perhaps that stems from hanging out with only men all the time. Can’t forget about George Costanza. He’s angry, he’s unreasonable, and his lack of morals or and disregard for social cues creates for many interesting situations. If you ever thought to yourself; who would ever do such a thing? George. George would do such a thing. And of course, the glue or silly puddy if you will, that holds the group together, comedian Jerry Seinfeld. Their lives are more chaotic than the Brooklyn-Queens expressway in the middle of rush hour. For nine years they have filled our homes with laughter and memorable quotes I still personally use to this day. Referring to a man as ‘sponge worthy’, ‘yada yada yada’ and let’s not dismiss the iconic Soup Nazi catchphrase that even our children’s children will be saying. But of course, all good things must come to an end. And even though I rewatch the show a handful of times per year, I still craved more humor like this.