Sunday, March 21, 2010

Today we saw a peacock behind a chain-link fence. He had his tail all fanned out, trying to get the attention of a completely indifferent peahen. He rattled his tail at her a few times, like a man in a sports car gunning the motor when a pretty woman walks by--Look at me! Hey! Pretty lady! Over here! Look! Hey!

When she passed him by, he did a long and elaborate peacock dance for Adam and me, no doubt hating for his dazzling charm to go to waste, and appreciating at least having an appreciative audience. His tail spread above him like a stained-glass saint's halo in a Romanesque cathedral. He faced us, glittering, and then, with deliberate, precise steps, turned in a full circle, showing us the slivered profile of the splendid fan, the almost-hidden wings folded along the back, the incongruously fluffy, ducklinglike bottom. He turned back to us and stood statue-still, allowing us to admire him. He turned in another circle full, slow circle, in the opposite direction this time.

We made fun of him a little on the way home, because of how much he seemed to enjoy the attention, because of his comical failure to interest the hen. But I still can't get over how incredibly gorgeous he was, like a burlesque dancer, like a god with a hundred eyes, slowly fanning the drab, gaping humans with the transformative heat of his beauty.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Today I was walking around downtown doing some errands

and found myself walking behind a girl who works at the news and magazine store where we pick up our coffee beans twice a week.

I have always noticed this girl because 1) downtown Santa Rosa is not a big place, and you see the same people over and over again even if you don't frequent the businesses they work at, 2) she is really, really pretty and 3) she looks ethnically ambiguous with a South Asian lean, like me. Or maybe she's Filipina, I'm not sure. But there aren't a whole lot of ethnically ambiguous brown people like me here in Santa Rosa, so I take special notice of each such person when I spot one.

Today this girl was walking with an older woman who I knew at once was her mother. I could tell because of the way the girl leaned slightly away from the older woman and the way the older woman leaned slightly towards the girl: it was a mother wanting to convey something that seemed important to her daughter and a daughter not wanting to hear it. The mother looked a lot more East Asian than the daughter, but they were definitely related--they had the same walk, they wore their exasperation with each other with the same body language, and they were exactly the same height.

I am having a good day with lots of good news and beautiful weather and everything; Jam Guy drew a happy face on my egg and rice this morning with Sriracha; our fruit trees, which have struggled through a winter of weird extremes (for Northern California, anyways) are covered in tender little springtime buds. There is no reason not to have all the hope in the world today. But seeing that mother and daughter walking together made me feel so lonely so suddenly.

Going through old drafts of stuff, I found this from last January

Letter to my unconceived child

Every so often, in the lull that follows things like crises of faith, yoga classes and earthquakes, I remember you by the little flutter you make in my abdomen, curled in an unmarked tissueless organ that yawns deeply somewhere among my viscera. I feel you in the moments that I resolve to be a better person, to give everything I wished to be given, to treat my self like a temple of succor and protection. Mysterious little fish, wholly unknowable tangle of electric desire, when I am doing things right, I do everything I do so that you may swim in waters that are clean and calm.

I don't know how long I have wanted you or when you came to be part of me or which came first. I believe that I have a spleen and a pancreas and a liver because I am told that I do, but I have never felt them like I feel my heart, or like I feel you. You are a part of me that, like my heart, marches in a fragile, steady cadence, mostly unnoticed, except for knocking hard when it is time for me to pay attention.

At once so much less and so much more than my biological imperative, at times the entire reason for my existence and at others the fiercest face my self-doubt can wear: do I, can I, deserve something as whole as you? I am filled with discontent watching my body move in a mirror when I think it is the shallow reflecting pool that is only mine; but when I think of it as your little swimming hole, your oasis, then I am filled with reverence for it, with the need to be careful and gentle with it.

You are loved. You are your own. You are a link in a chain that has meaning because of you.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sometimes eavesdropping is depressing

Girl at table next to ours in a sushi restaurant: I have this, like, phobia. Of tsunamis. For real. I'm serious, I seriously have nightmares about them.

Boy, seriously: Seriously?

Girl: Yeah. Like, every night. I don't know what it is.

Boy: Do you know, like, maybe, what started it? Or like, were you involved in a tsunami, or something?

Girl: Well, you know that tsunami that hit Thailand that year?

Boy, wide-eyed: Yes?

Girl: It happened on my birthday.

Boy: ...

Girl: I hear it's really pretty in Thailand, though.