“To begin… To begin… How to start? I’m hungry. I should get coffee. Coffee would help me think. Maybe I should write something first, then reward myself with coffee. Coffee and a muffin. Okay, so I need to establish the themes. Maybe a banana-nut. That’s a good muffin.”
-Charlie Kaufman, Adaptation
Truthfully, this kind of foggy thinking is what I usually bring to the desk when I sit down to write. This morning, however, as I walked the hilly one-miler back to our apartment, my brain was alert with descriptive thoughts on the sublime small things of the week.
Last summer was an agonizing span of waiting while David and I anticipated the move into 1916 Calvert. In all of our nouveau l’amour we were busied with getting to know each other and cementing the proclamations of our partnership. This summer, while we remain resolved to our convergence, we also have begun an individual resurgence. The weekend, thus, left me quite solitary while I moved out so they could work on our apartment and David went to Virginia Beach to visit Waldie.
I sat alone at my favorite restaurant, consuming the newspaper, and contemplating the syruped swirls on my french toast. My waiter has pink plastic fingernails; remnants of last night’s drag show, I wonder? I’m not bothered–I like that he is unafraid.
At the early hour (7 A.M.) we were the silent single eaters, the ones who come early so that we do not take up an entire table once the restaurant is truly busy. We leave when the parents arrive with their children.
In the paces of my Sunday ritual, I move down to Dupont and I realize with some comfort that the farmer’s market is my most perfect place of exploration. The stalls of hand-picked foods; the voluptuous berries and tomatoes bursting from their baskets, the thrilling cold of a handled cucumber. I love weaving among the families, the hippies, the D.C. elite, all of us sweating in unified rivulets as we ponder the price of leeks.
As I discussed with my friend Jess, you will always pay more at a farmer’s market, but there is no way to replicate the taste of the peach you will find there.
A dad gives each of his twin daughters a five-dollar bill and tells them they can pick out as much as their money will buy them. Oh, what a significant generational gap has occurred from the days when my dad gave us 35 cent to buy a Little Debbie snack cake!
The mile walk there and back are equally fulfilling. This morning I chatted with my mom, each of us happily engaged in our Sunday traditions. Sometimes, it is just me and my thoughts–the hum of the waiting car, the scream of the espresso machine, the steadily inclined sidewalks.
I think about the bird that I saw this week. It sat seemingly dazed, not moving when I nearly brushed it with my leg. “The bird will be okay,” I thought. Perhaps he hit a window? I think about the little bird for the rest of the day, wondering whether I should have found something to scoot him out of the ally. Sure enough, on my return home, there he is, flattened, in the same precarious spot. I know it is the cycle of life, but I feel sick. Was this a missed opportunity?
And then I stop on my return walk to rifle through a box on the street filled with free items–like the ones so often seen on our stoop–and I find Susan Faludi’s Backlash. I feel a supreme kind of joy. A book I have wanted to read since Dr. Aleman and Dr. Ghuicac first introduced me to the literature of feminism! It is a moment, pure and unfiltered, of surprise at myself. This is indeed the return to independence.