Today I was going through old files and found a little text document I must have typed out while happy and a little drunk. That day I was rich with being 28 in the summer in New York, and I was newly free from a relationship in which I felt like a puddle in someone else's footprint, and I was living in a sublet in Harlem, just a few blocks from the 145th and St. Nick's stop:
why my life is so great--mostly food-related
because yesterday i wanted to ride my bike over the GWB, but couldn't figure out how to get on it, so instead in the hottest part of the afternoon rode up to the farmer's market way up on Isham, bought a pound of honey and a pound of peaches, a bunch of basil and a bunch of beets, put my purchases in my basket and rode home trailed by the fragrance of overwarm peaches and humidly wilting basil;
because my friend mailed me a present of three jars of his homemade preserves--plum, rangur lime, and mixed citrus marmalade--all the way from santa rosa, all made from fruit he picked himself in other friends' backyards, and the plum jam is flavored with zinfandel, vanilla bean and black pepper and is like nothing i've ever had before, maybe in no small part because they're californian plums grown in leisure and given with love;
because sauteed beet greens are my favorite vegetable and eating them, especially while drinking cheap cabernet, stains my lips such a pretty color;
because i live in a city where i can eat an empanada for breakfast, a musubi for lunch and frites for dinner, without once going a fraction of a block out of my way;
because i am going to make the best peach-custard pie, or peach gallete, or peach tarte, this city has ever seen with those lovely summer jersey peaches.
Well. Now I miss New York. In a much bigger adventure-type move than impulsively deciding to ride my bike to Inwood, I've rather impulsively moved to California. I moved for lots of reasons, but when I'm being totally honest with myself the biggest one is because I fell in love with the friend who mailed me the jam. Jam Guy is a truly remarkable human being.
I do miss New York. I miss my friends; I miss the food. I miss all the walking, the bike riding, the long runs along the river, the abundance of dive bars and pubs, the way the city so absolutely absorbed my light moods and my heavy ones. Now I live in San Diego, still about a billion miles from Jam Guy in Santa Rosa, and miss him too. I do a lot of missing. Some days are very blue.
There are a lot of days that are still very good, though. New York City to San Diego was quite the culture shock, but I am assiduously assimilating, at least on the surface, into a good Californian: I practice self-forgiveness every time I topple over in yoga class; I eat purple blood-oranges from the farmer's market; I laugh and contemplate teeth-whitening procedures over grilled fish tacos and light beers with my classmates. I revel all the way through decadent weekends here or in Santa Rosa spent with Jam Guy. My dear friend M visited me and one night we stayed up till after 2 talking over carne asada fries and then woke up at 7 and talked all day till we couldn't not sleep any more. I've rediscovered the library and read novels at a pace I would never have been allowed as a little girl. I drive up to LA, feeling very On the Road because to me that's a long drive, and spend weekends with my amazing sister and her wife. I listen to my cat snore. I write and write, mostly songs and little poems that I want to be about being in love with Jam Guy but that nearly always end up being about missing my mother; still, there is healing in writing about missing her, and they are still love songs in their own fashion.
I don't think I ever made anything with those peaches; I just ate them day after day, sitting on my fire escape watching the city trees.