Sometimes I’ll have moments I know I’ll remember for a long time. Years later, they’ll come as flashbacks, these fleeting connections. Before I’d never imagined how much certain people would mean to me. Then it was like something had cracked the casing around my heart like a nut and I was the Grinch with a heart that’d grown three sizes too big.
I looked at a trash can strewn and crooked and swore it was art. Saw shadows fanning light and searched for the source. Thought how can this be? and how are we here? and I’m glad everything just is. I kept these things to myself until I realized, in steady sobriety, that this was reality, that this was the nighttime, that this was the glittering town spread beneath our legs, strands of hair spinning free, stories up above the ground, city sprawled beneath the bumper.
My fingers are pink and numb, my nose tulipy red: I’ve just come back from prancing around in the snow, making snow angels, kicking up powdery light snowdust. Our boots sunk three inches deep. Light mound of snow layered the field, coated every surface, nook and crevice like frosting (Ah, Frosty!)
The snow was too fine for snowmen or snowballs, so we resorted to dragging our boots through the snow, windmilling bodies into snow angels, tossing handfuls of snow. “Snow, please,” I’d say, since I’d forgotten to wear mittens. Then a sprinkle-shower of snow would scatter over our heads.
There are few things in the world as cathartic as 6-hour long conversations with good friends.
So here’s to a sense of identity, to men who shoot down the moon because their beloved drank from vials of morality. To figuring out what it is that imprisons us—the future? loci of control? the internalization of social pressures? To values and meaning, valuing meaning.
Here’s to dreaming of one day becoming the security guard who stands on his bike at 1 in the morning as he glides down the bridge.
“What are you doing?”
“Figuring out what imprisons us.”
(and other things unsaid)
Here’s to finding yourself and the right words.
The kind you might drunkenly sing at the top of your lungs in the middle of the night post-Comedy house laughs, boozy Oreo milkshakes and whirring pinball games that you win by, oh, thirty million points.
- Someday, The Strokes
- Take Me Out, Franz Ferdinand
- Young Folks, Peter Bjorn and John
- Riptide, Vance Joy
- Where Did Your Heart Go Missing?, Rooney
- Midnight City, M83
- Ho Hey, The Lumineers
- Tighten Up, The Black Keys
- I Wanna Be Yours, Arctic Monkeys
- A-Punk, Vampire Weekend
- Oxford Comma, Vampire Weekend
- Float On, Modest Mouse
- Mardy Bum, Arctic Monkeys
- What You Know, Two Door Cinema Club
- Stolen Dance, Milky Dance
- Are You Gonna Be My Girl, Jet
- Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked, Cage The Elephant
- No You Girls, Franz Ferdinand
- Sweet Disposition, The Temper Trap
- Welcome to the Black Parade, My Chemical Romance
(Honestly I’m so happy right now my heart might just explode.)
Shadows, passing moon, a darkening sky. Even though it’s ten degrees cooler my dress is sticky with sweat. I’m holding up a bright yellow Cheerios box that reflects the sky since I didn’t order solar eclipse glasses in time (you can’t see it with the naked eye–you’ll go blind). When I look inside the box, I see a little orb of whitish blinding sun glaring at me from the back of box; I see a black dot, the Moon! inching across the orb.
The Solar Eclipse: when the homewrecking Moon passes between Sun and Earth.
Some parts of the country saw the solar eclipse in its totality. Others, only partially. If you google solar eclipse, you’ll find a ringlet-of-fire-looking thing–the sun’s corona–staring back at you the way it did in my textbooks. That’s what the people in its path today saw. Alas, I didn’t, not in its entirety. Taken from the small cut-out opening, this picture shows the blurry partial eclipse seen from my location. The sun looks, ironically, like a little moon where the moon passes over.
Like seeing science in the flesh. I remember the first time I peered into the telescope to see a massive spotty Jupiter staring right back. I experienced less an epiphany than I did surprise: I knew the planets were there, but they’d always been more…conceptual to me. Science had always been removed by textbooks, grades, illustrations to recreate. Earth was a plastic globe spinning on my pre-k teacher’s desk–according to her, it rotated constantly, and I imagined it spun on its own at night. In physics, in astro, I memorized definitions, calculated coordinates, listened to songs about stars in the sky, but I didn’t always get it, just regurgitated for the grade.
But for a moment, today, I got it. The sheer coolness of solar eclipse wasn’t so much about it being the first in several years (there’ll be another in 2024), or the well-publicized hype. It was more of a small a-ha moment, when things clicked in my head, when textbook definition met astro illustration met real life demonstration. Like in the fourth grade when I watched vinegar and baking soda bubble volcano-ey; like in sophomore Chemistry when my teacher said, “there’s no such thing as cold, only the absence of heat”. Like the moment I understood that basics and acids, when combined, neutralize to create salt and water. Quirky instances of science that, at some point, sunk in beyond the understanding-for-a-grade level.
And today it sunk in–the light-spitting corona; a massive crater-riddled Moon. Us, wee little people, pointing paper glasses towards the sky, oohing and aahing on a (carbon) coughing-sputtering earth.
“Chai” means “tea”. So whenever you order “chai tea” saccharine sweet cinnamonmy goodness, you’re essentially ordering “tea tea.”
Steaming redundancies aside, I’m nursing a Chai while reading Sandra Cisneros. It’s the first time, in nearly ten years, that I’m reading her work, since our teachers last assigned House on Mango Street to us as children. Some background on Cisneros–she’s a Latin-American novelist, poet and activist. She oft writes about straddling the cultural in-between of being both Mexican and Chicana; of being the Other Woman; of race and class and living in poverty. Heavy context, good literature.
Unfortunate for us, though, we were too young to know what we were even reading. Most of this flew over our heads. It was also around this time, I remember, when they threw Animal Farm at our small heads scrawny builds as if we knew a thing about WWII. Like we knew which animal meant who or what scenario meant which–an allegory without the lesson is an empty tale. For the longest time I really thought it was just a book about talking animals bickering over tables, feed and inequality.
Now I’m a little older, though, I can better appreciate these books. I can nibble, munch, and digest the literary contents. Allusions don’t fly over my head; the craft doesn’t go unnoticed. Making little kids read meaningful texts is like offering a delicacy they gobble down hastily, without realizing its weight. I’m no longer a kid, but these books are still literary delicacies (that I like to pair with chai).