And Now For Something Completely Different

2010 May 21

Lately, I’ve been working on some other writing.¬† Writing that’s more in the vein of literary non-fiction essays and writing that I plan to pull together into a something. Maybe a something with a cover and pages and page numbers, dig? I thought I would share a little excerpt of it with you. Reactions via the usual means (Twitter, email, telepathy, hand-written notes, etc.) are, of course, welcome.

Sometimes, I walk through the rich neighborhood. Private schools, trees overhanging the sidewalk, the greenest, brightest grass. I like to guess the price of the houses that are for sale and then look them up when I get home to see how close my guesses are. Today, I wanted fresh air. Fresh air and sorbet and quiet, shady avenues, no stoplights. It always takes a few blocks for my mind to unwind. It took almost to the door of the ice cream stand this time, until I saw three uniformed girls wobbling on bikes in the middle of the street, pedaling slowing and laughing self-consciously as they test-drive their spring legs. And if not young again myself, I at least feel hopeful. For them? For me? For the possibilities that such a tableau represents. I’m very fond of possibilities, especially if you catch them before anyone else does, coax them into the jar and screw the cap on tight before they can escape.

Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography

Even though it’s 2:00 PM, the ice cream stand is empty. The radio is playing in the background and the boy behind the counter is softly singing Let It Be under his breath and the whole world smells like lilacs and sunscreen. I don’t know if the moment expands or everything else shrinks, but right then, there is no other place and time but standing alone in this tiny ice cream shack, tracing my finger in the condensation on the cooler, waiting for two scoops of raspberry sorbet. Right then, I am in love. In love with the boy behind the counter, with the smell of lilacs and sunscreen, with The Beatles. In love with the moment. It’s a lonely kind of love, because you are in love with the insubstantial and the unable-to-be-replicated¬† and even if you’re sharing the moment with someone else, you are, at the heart of it, in love with the view of the world as frozen through your own eyes. One per customer.

I collect these moments. I clutch them in my sticky little fist and when I get home to the quiet, I store them away for safe-keeping. But I know better than to try to recapture them. A girl could waste a whole life on that. As I walk back, I lean into an imposing yard to smell its just-blossomed lilac bush. But I don’t pick any to take with me. Same principle.

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