Monday, February 11, 2013

Keep walking


This is our life, our life together. Visiting all the nail salons in East Boston to find the brightest greens and yellows, purples and blues and fuchsia, magenta, orange. We even start going to this one restaurant without a name really, I mean it used to be called Luigi's when it was Italian so  that's what it still says out front on the sign with the Italian flag. But JoAnne went out one day to find beans and rice without lard and Luigi's was a place she found. So we drink margaritas at big red booths that remind me of La Rondalla where we used to drink margaritas in San Francisco but I don't say that because we try not to talk about San Francisco. Instead I say it reminds me of the place where I went with Erik and Kayti for margaritas in high school, we would drink pitcher after pitcher and not eat anything except an occasional salad. At Luigi’s or whatever it's called, we eat beans and rice and drink margaritas and laugh so hard at the world and everyone stares. Sometimes when everyone's drunk the men ask if JoAnne wants to dance, but she always turns them down, and then they point to me and we all laugh again, maybe not together exactly but not quite apart.

            The kids in the neighborhood aren’t outside as often now that school’s back in session, but on weekends it's just like old times except now JoAnne has replaced Abby and the kids are confused. Where’s your friend, they keep asking, and I ignore them. Finally I say: This is my friend. Then they look more confused.

The kids don't carry sticks anymore, but they still stare and point and comment on our changing hairstyles and we laugh some more. We even laugh when people think we’re a couple: how could the world be so stupid?

            It's fall now, and we go to the park on the piers with extra layers for the wind, staring at all the colors in the water. It's kind of like we’re on vacation except this is our life, our life together. Sometimes we drink too much, and then we start talking about San Francisco: JoAnne says she can never go back because otherwise it would all be over, this would all be over, so I'm starting to think that I can never go back either.

            We go to Bread & Circus and create the most elaborate meals from the salad bar, filled with the most expensive things like artichokes and smoked tofu and grape leaves and quinoa and then we walk right past the registers and sit down in front and eat everything. Afterwards we buy broccoli and tofu and pasta, scallions and carrots and tomatoes sauce, rolled oats and brown rice and fresh dill, basil and mushrooms and sweet potatoes, and then we stuff all the expensive things into our bags.

            We dream a lot. I dream about my parents and dark rooms. I dream about hanging from the ceiling without legs, without a head, what is left in the middle? I dream about the ocean pulling me out. I dream about shit smothering my breathing passages, my father's hands, flying off a cliff in a car I don't know how to drive. JoAnne dreams about her father smoking in the bedroom, and everything burning down. JoAnne dreams about someone else's heartbeat. She dreams about getting stuck in the refrigerator, pounding on the door but no one can hear.

But when we wake up, we paint our nails and soak our hands in ice water, create elaborate new hair dye possibilities, go to Bertucci's and ponder the rolls made out of pizza dough. We chop vegetables and make carrot juice with ginger and put lemon juice on our faces for acne. Oh, how it burns.

We talk about drugs, and whether they’re really in the past. Whether they ever really will be. We talk about how funny it is that we live in Boston, such a horrible place but we’re kind of starting to love it. Or, I'm starting to love it. JoAnne started right away, right when we got to our house and she said this is what I always thought San Francisco would be like.

What do you mean?

A house with you, us against the world.

Yes, it's us against the world, so when things aren't working, we come up with elaborate rituals. JoAnne's rituals, until I realize we can let go of cheesy spiritual bullshit and do whatever we want, right? Yes, JoAnne, let's smash all the CDs and tapes that make you think of heroin — goodbye Hole and Belly and PJ Harvey.

But have you ever tried to smash a CD? Damn it's hard.

And, what to do with the remnants, finally, remnants? Should we make a path from the T station to here, like Cinderella except these breadcrumbs will last? Although, maybe they won't last too long. How about a glass bowl on the table in the living room? Let's sit down and chew on the plastic and talk about digestion — no, that tastes horrible. Should we go to the beach and sprinkle it all in the sand? No, bury it, but where?

So we go on a walk until we find enough dirt, just outside the airport fence. Except we forgot to bring a shovel. So we come back, but this shovel isn’t strong enough. Let's throw it all onto the runways. Yes, yes — the runways. JoAnne quotes Belly: “Poor thing, poor thing, do you have a sister?” And Hole: “Someday you will ache like I ache." And PJ Harvey: “Lick my legs, I'm on fire. Lick my legs of desire.”

I always thought it was lick my legs, I'm desire — but, I'm no PJ Harvey expert. I was always trying not to pay attention.

This ritual needs some runway. So then I say okay, now we need to walk like there's no tomorrow, I mean we need to walk until tomorrow, I mean we need to walk until we can't walk anymore and then we need to keep walking until it's all over.

So then we walk.

And it is over.

At least for a few minutes.

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