Saturday, January 22, 2011

3 Cigarettes in an Ashtray

Patsy Cline’s, Three cigarettes in an ashtray, is playing on my way home from The Hill. I laughed out loud to myself as this song began to play, thinking of how sobby and gritty her songs are and how sad and excitedly she sings them. I am back in St.Louis, it is a new-old town for me. I raced other joggers today in Forest Park, amazed that the trail was cleared in our snowy winter. Later getting a pint, or two, with a dear childhood friend, I felt the peace that always sweeps over me driving into the heart of a city with the cityscape reminding us that we are home, safe. The brick city houses, full of windows, with steep, short front yards are like my family, they have been there since my beginning and promise to offer comfort and protection as I, like the city, grow and change.
Yet no longer are we kids. We act like grown-ups, knowing when we should go home and looking forward to a fresh, productive morning. Many friends are moving out of my memory dream of my life as a St.Louisan, with kids, mortgages, bedtimes, yet this city comforts me, even as I drive Frida, my trusty, funky, metal companion, down a quiet Clayton Rd, knowing how to get anywhere by heading North, South, East, West.
I am in my nest, a big, beautiful brick home behind Tilles Park, welcomed by the people who knew me when I learned how to navigate ice-covered turnpikes and realized just how important it is to stay in touch. I hear Saturday Night Live is on in the living room downstairs, I am home.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Can I ask you a question?

I lost my earring at the end of this night. They wanted us to leave so quickly, after I just pulled up a seat. His name is John and I was growing enamored. My friend was his teacher, but I sassed him asking why he made a face. That was the start of it all. He told me people always acknowledge him from above like they know him. It was true, it happened all night. Sitting there with him, he was a celebrity, Mr. Popular. Though I learned his name was John from all the people calling out to him as they passed, I don’t think he ever knew my name, really. The teasing kept us taught, intrigued, engaged, alive. I followed him to the bar outside for another round. He reassured me as I tried to decipher the path of least resistance to the bar and waited for a clearing. There, leaning over, finally feeling in his space. When we sat back down, I ventured to the next level, “Can I ask you a question?”, “Yes, I dove into a pool my senior year of high school and hit the bottom.” I wanted to find out so much more, to delve into this source of strength, to absorb wisdom and grace. I asked him how tall he was, 6’1 in real life he told me. When my friends told me it was time to go, I kissed his cheek, knowing I was in the presence of someone great. When I asked him what he was going to do, now he had finished with college, he replied, keep being awesome.
A few blocks down the street, I turned back to find my missing earring. When I returned through the back door, he had it in his lap. I leaned down and kissed him and he told me he thought it was destiny, safe in his presence, owning his life and immeasurable in his effect.