Sunday, July 27, 2008

Size Small

It was Thanksgiving, a day where you really are supposed to have a place to go, a day that should be populated privately with people not from work, not your neighbors or all the usual people you run into during the day.

I am in Los Angeles, a place that isn’t right for Thanksgiving. It’s too warm. I live in a one-bedroom shag-carpeted cottage with two 40-gallon saltwater fish tanks that stand at a random angle to each other in the middle of the living room floor, my boyfriend’s two latest must-haves.

There’s no office to go to which opens the day wide open, my feet can go in any direction, something that always feels good when I open my eyes in the morning, and that by 9 or 10 o’clock feels like a burden, money I don’t know how to spend.

All I know is that I am wearing Levi’s and a tight white tee-shirt. I buy them three-in-a-pack, always size small. It was my boyfriend’s idea. Something about his favorite costume for a girl: Levi’s and a white tee shirt. I have on my garb and my dark hair is parted in the middle and hangs long.

I will go for a walk. It will fill the time and I will feel in motion, like something is happening.

I walk. In Los Angeles no one does this, and no one does this on Thanksgiving. The sidewalk is wide. The streets are more or less empty. The houses have neat lawns, all more or less the same size. I walk with hands in my pockets, enjoying the elasticity of my body, the feeling of strength like I could go forever. I do this well, walking. I am in my element even though I know I will just turn around in the end and go back. Nobody else knows that.

The sky is washed blue. The sidewalk and street are beiges and gray. I walk fast, my strides are long. I am just walking and it is Thanksgiving day.

Ahead I see two boys walking towards me, enough my age, older or younger but enough my age to know that they will see me and I don’t know what will happen.

I am walking, I am striding, hands in pockets. The boys are closer. Maybe as we pass I glance up because it would be too obvious not to.

“I like the way they bounce,” one says with a smirk.

I keep walking. I pretend I don’t hear. The boys laugh of course. They have noticed me. Again, my looks have drawn attention. I am used to this. But I hate the boys, hate them impotently.

There is always a point in a walk when you are not going anymore but coming back, especially in random city walks, a moment when I give up, let go of the spring that propelled me forward. It’s a disappointing moment, the anti-climax.

I like the first part best, the bursting out of the house, full of promise.

Friday, July 04, 2008


I came into the apartment and Jeffrey was home. I think it was a summer day. I had probably been out working some temp job in some office in some skyscraper and I entered the apartment – my home, sort of – I entered it very alone, stepping into this territory that was supposed to be mine, or shared-mine, supposed to be my refuge, the place I’d been waiting to get back to all day, the place I felt torn from as I sat under fluorescent lights before my IBM Selectric amongst people who really seemed to think and care about carbon copies and memos.

I came home and Jeffrey said he had a song he really wanted me to hear, a new Jackson Browne song and instead of going into our bedroom that was really his bedroom that I slept in – the walls had been painted an unrelenting, harsh blue by his stepmother, the furniture was left over from his childhood apartment that had not been shared by this stepmother, and the stereo Jeffrey was usually monitoring was set up within easy reach of the bed – we didn’t go in there this day or into the living room where the TV was, the other main fixture of our life in this apartment though I didn’t like TV much, Jeffrey could watch it for hours. Instead, he led me into the bare almost lifeless room where his father slept, or used to sleep. He wasn’t coming around so much anymore. In the beginning, the apartment had been rented to house Jeffrey and his father who was going through a rough patch with his second wife. Jeffrey’s father’s room had a four-poster bed in it, a nightstand and a TV at the foot of the bed on a dresser.

Jeffrey and I sat on the edge of the bed and he played me the song. Jeffrey was excited for me to hear the song. Jeffrey and I had had some sort of huge fight I think that morning or the night before. Somehow, this song was supposed to cure something. Or maybe I’d had a particularly horrible bout of depression that I couldn’t hold back the way I usually did, and it spilled out into view and Jeffrey had found the song that would address it. Or something. I don’t know. To Jeffrey the song was relevant and a big deal. I almost wrote the word “important,” but that word does not go with Jeffrey. To use that word here would give him credit that I just don’t associate with this scene.

I listened to the song. It did nothing for me. It pierced nothing. And it made Jeffrey angry that I didn’t get it – I even felt that maybe I wasn’t getting it. I just remember sitting there, on the edge of the double bed, in a room that didn’t get much light and Jackson Browne’s song is for Jeffrey, not for me. And I don’t know if what I want is so deep Jeffrey will never able to reach it, or if I am so lost that things like this song, things that can save other people, are swinging in a world I can’t get to.