you’ve had your ideas…

I drove a friend and myself an hour north of Birmingham today. We then crouched, jumped, climbed up and skidded down to Noccalula Falls. Stunning.

I hadn’t brought swimming clothes with me but swam anyways, and when I was bouncing on the balls of my feet, shoulder-deep in the water, and about ten feet away from a misty cascade, I distinctly heard this in my head: “You’ve had your ideas…”

Now — I am not a religious person (more on that here), but I am a spiritual one, and I instantly got it: I’ve broken up with all of the boys now (both in real life and in my head) and school’s starting up again tomorrow, making today the perfect day for letting go — just a little. Planning everything all of the time, a little less. And being more like water.

“How is water?” one of two Latino boys asked me, in broken English — they were both sixteen years old and named Alfonso (cousins), and a few moments later, they asked if they could take my picture.

“Hace frio,” I replied, surprising them, “pero esta soleado tambien.”

 

 

Still here (and still a Virgo),

Aun Aqui

you hurt a lot

My last Trample ride of the season took place Thursday night, when the air was cool — it already felt like fall, and I felt a little like a ghost. There was a full moon, dark green field, thick row of trees, and train rolling down the tracks. Perfect. And I realized, listening to it come this time, that the sound it makes is actually, probably a warning, though I’ve always considered it a greeting.

Audio was there this time; he talked to me here and there and rode through the dark alley with me on our way back to the shop (lights off, jazz playing from somewhere), but I left without saying goodbye; feelings change, and I’m glad.

“I didn’t know he was going to be here tonight,” my cool friend Jon said, following me to my car.

I smiled. “Yeah…” I didn’t have the energy to explain that it didn’t matter anymore.

“Class on Thursday nights STINKS and I’ll NEVER do it again, but at least I’ll still see you at our cafe on the weekends!” I reassured both of us, hugging Jon and wishing him a safe and happy night.

 

**

 

The next evening, I went to a punk (or post-punk — not my usual genre) show with a guy. He shared his beer with me and we had a great time together, talking and looking at each other and walking through Avondale Park at midnight.

But before saying goodnight, we talked about the real shit, and I told him that I was happy to be his friend. I couldn’t reliably ask for anything else from him, and my intuition exhaled peacefully at the word as soon as I’d said it.

 

**

 

This afternoon, I’m at a cafe with Charlie; he’s drawing and I’m on-and-off studying Spanish. We’re catching up with a friend at Rojo in a little while.

During our ride over to Crestwood, we somehow ended up talking about smells and how each person has their own distinct smell.

“Of all the guys I’ve dated,” I told Charlie, laughing a little, “you and Christopher smelled the best. I remember you smelling like coffee back then, so now, I always think of you when I’m around coffee,” I smiled. “And Christopher… he smelled… spicy.” I couldn’t think of how to describe it, at first, but then I knew. “He smelled like the fall.” Then I cried. I didn’t even think, I’m going to cry — my soul just took over and started weeping for me. Fuck, I thought to myself, truly exhausted. When will he go go go away? 

I gave a quick tour of downtown Birmingham to my neighbor’s nephew earlier this morning (a 29-year-old guy from Chile), and by tour, I mean I showed him my favoritest parts: Red Cat, Railroad Park, and the Pepper Place Farmer’s Market. We spoke exclusively in Spanish, which was REALLY cool, and right out of the gate, I told him (in Spanish): “I don’t have or want a boyfriend — I’m pursuing peace right now.” I believe that honesty is true kindness. I don’t want to date him, or anyone. I want to be whole again, and I’m still not sure exactly how that works.

 

**

 

And with all prospects gone, I feel less burdened. Disheartened, certainly (because I truly love living the companion lifestyle), but relieved also. I forgot to mention this earlier, but the concert guy encouraged me to pursue other romantic endeavors; I replied that I was happy to be taking a break, and while happy isn’t really the best word for it, deciding to go it alone for a while has given me this deep sense of… stillness. I guess that’s the word. It’s kind of like I’ve tied all of my self-doubt and related chaos up in a bag and set it down by the road.

 

Because here’s the thing: I’m not looking for someone to entertain me or help me while the time away — I have plenty of ways to amuse myself and lots of things to occupy my time and am after something much deeper, and I’m also finally ready to hold out for it: A relationship that feels, and is, healthy and not a frenzied grasping for love that simply isn’t there. I’m sick of re-realizing, with a broken heart, that I’ve just overly-invested myself in another fucking game some not-rad dude was playing.

 

And while I was riding my bike this Thursday, a silent and poignant line struck me in the dark: “You hurt a lot.” It wasn’t really about me or someone else hurting in general — it seemed to be more about how the mere existence or memory of another person can cause physical pain and spiritual anguish. Like, instead of saying “the blade hurts a lot” or “the fire hurts a lot”, YOU hurt a lot. You are, intrinsically, an instrument of great pain.

Maybe this makes sense, maybe it doesn’t — but here’s a weird little poem I wrote about it.

 

you hurt a lot
aun aqui

 

I rock back and forth, you go side to side
you hurt a lot
cutoff shorts in frays like tassels
you hurt a lot
“the first sip’s the best,” ha-ha
you hurt a lot
hot air on the neck, some soul in its castle
you hurt a lot
“tell me when it changes,” yeah… yeah
you hurt a lot
“i can’t properly say this,” yeah yeah 
you hurt a lot
coffee breath and dirty finger nails
you hurt a lot
some stupid cut on your stupid elbow
you hurt a lot
“so granola,” you’re shaking your head
you hurt a lot
“so let’s go to nola,” please — please… 
you hurt a lot
Still here,
Aun Aqui

Recycling Things

I walked in with my shoulders pulled back and my chin at least level with the ground. Three people were already seated there in the lobby; I chose a chair, fell down into it like a real hard-ass, and then took an idgaf swig of my Publix-brand chocolate milk.

“So what are you guys in for?” I asked.

A lady with thick-rimmed rectangle glasses turned to look at me. “I ran a red light…”

“Ditto,” I nodded, looking down at the pipsqueak pint of chocolate milk in my hand. Then I glanced up and over at the two other folks.

One of them answered for both: “We’re speeders.”

I nodded my head knowingly (although I do not speed, so I don’t actually know). Within thirty minutes, 43 other human beings had joined us, and the lot of us were going to experience our – presumably – first Defensive Driving Class together.

***

Now — while I wasn’t NEARLY as cool in REAL life as I just portrayed myself to be (above), I did ask what everyone was “in” for (ha!) and took a few generous sips of that chocolate milk (and doing both of these things made the evening seem WILD!). The four-hour class wasn’t nearly as boring as some had warned me it would be — I learned some legitimately useful things, like:

  • If it’s snowing (which, in Alabama, it mostly doesn’t), you can tell that it’s SAFE to drive forward if the tires on the car in front of you have a “mist” coming off of them (IE, if they’re kicking up snow). If there is NO mist, then they’re prob rolling across ice, and it could be black ice (which is very dangerous), and you should NOT drive. You also shouldn’t drive if you’re intoxicated or on your goddamn cell phone.
  • Alabama is on the “points” system, and the kind of ticket you get (whether it’s rolling through a stop sign, “running” a red light, or driving under an influence) has a certain number of points associated with it… if you get 12 points within like, two years, your license can become revoked. Yikes!
  • “You HAVE to die… everything else is a choice.” This wasn’t written anywhere in the curriculum, but our instructor said it, and it meant a great deal to me.

 

…did I ever mention how I ended up in this class?

 

***

As one of my best friends likes to say, what had happened was: Last month, I was innocently driving from the Whole Foods in Hoover to a local branch (I’m a credit union trainer). I was parked at the light behind this big ole’ semi, slowly eating a banana, when the semi began moving. I trailed slowly behind it and, once we were halfway through the intersection together, the traffic light became visible to me: red!

 

Holy shit, I mumbled, soft, mushy banana pieces crowding my mouth. I decided that reversing through the intersection would be a stupid waste of time, so I sped the rest of the way through it. Bad call. You know why? I then heard the sound. I’m sure you also know the sound.

A cop on a motorbike pulled me over, and my heart REALLY was RACING. I preemptively rolled my window down before he walked over and then sat there, still as a – you guessed it – statue. You hardly have to tune into the news to know why.

And personal bias aside, this dude was seriously the “mean cop” type. He said or asked me something about the incident, can’t remember what exactly, and when I apologized and tried to explain that I honestly hadn’t realized the light was red, he laughed and said: “Ma’am, that light was turning yellow before the semi had even pulled out.” I wanted to say: “Well how the heck was I supposed to know that?! I’M not as tall as ANY semi!” I also wanted to tell him – to prove my point re: honesty – about the time I’d asked my mom mail a $10 check to a random gas station in Florida because – six years earlier, as a nine-year old – I had been the evil-hearted accomplice in the theft of a packet of Pokemon cards… but instead of sharing this, I apologized again and – unable to stifle myself – cried quietly while he stood a few yards away and wrote out my ticket.

Once he returned, I asked him how much it was.

“$185?!” I repeated, incredulous. I’ve got two music gigs lined up this weekend, so that’ll ABOUT cover it, I mused, valiantly trying to console myself.

And then he mentioned my court date.

“A COURT DATE?” I screeched. Not the kind of date I want, I scoffed inwardly. He narrowed his eyes at me.

“Am I like — in serious TROUBLE?” I asked him, panic seizing me. He proceeded to explain that the court date was optional — that I needed to appear only if I wanted to contest the ticket — and that, otherwise, I could either pay the ticket BEFORE the date rolled around or take a defensive driving class.

“A class?” My ears perked up at this.

The class costed $$$ too, but there were three + one (aka four) benefits to taking the class instead of just paying the damn ticket and moving on with life:

  1. The ticket wouldn’t go on my pristine record, meaning (among other things) that my insurance premium wouldn’t rise bc of the (unjust) incident.
  2. The class costed a little less than the ticket itself (we’re talking a difference of 6-7 lattes — that’s considerable).
  3. I’d probably learn something interesting slash useful in the class.
  4. I might meet the next love of my life in that class! 

 

***

I did NOT meet the next love of my life in that class, but it was still enjoyable. I got my little certificate, drove home with it VERY carefully, and then passed out in my comfy, blanketed bed after a few sips of wine and a hunk of manchego cheese on a thin slice of sourdough.

 

IMG-3630
maybe you’ll find this funny: I brought home this bottle of fancy rosado (fancy, for me, = more than ten bucks) annnnnnnnnd ended up doing THIS while trying to open it. The real bummer: Charlie was closing that night, so I couldn’t access the wine at ALL! He “finished” opening it for me the next day…

 

Since we’re  (sorta) talking about love now: The first love of my life was Christopher, and yesterday would have been our 8-year anniversary. I made the mistake of saying it was our anniversary yesterday morning, and Charlie quickly corrected me: It would have been, he said gently. You’re right, I replied sadly.

And earlier today, as I was writing out my daily list of Spanish vocab — nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions that I’m filing away in my mental dictionary — it occurred to me that I’ve made really good use of a few items from Chris and I’s wedding.

 

Things I’ve “recycled”:

  • The registry book: This is where I log my Spanish vocab now. It’s a nice, big, leather-bound book with pretty, lined paper on the inside, and other than the word “Guests” repeating at the top-right of each page, it’s entirely blank, meaning I can repurpose it however I’d like. Right now, it’s a great retainer for new words that make the world a little more colorful and a lot more interesting.

IMG-3669

 

  • The wedding dress: Earlier this year, my dress became lots of dresses.

    A good friend of mine named Emilio works with a group of women who take old wedding dresses and cut + sew them down into burial dresses for premature babies. When she shared this with me, I was mute with feeling and thought to myself, what better way – TRULY – to repurpose this thing? So I took the old box down from that dusty, unused closet the next day and brought the dress to her.

 

  • The rings are still around, somewhere… I kept them in my backpack for a while, telling myself I’d run into a pawn shop one day and sell ’em for twenty-something bucks. I’ll give Charlie a dollar to give Chris his nine, I’d told myself. But I could never actually bring myself to walk in and hand them over… and when I went fishing for them in my backpack the other day, thinking that maybe I was finally ready, I couldn’t find them. Maybe I’ve forgotten that I gave up on trying to give them up a few weeks back and placed them somewhere in the house, or maybe they just fell out and got lost somewhere along the way…

 

Regardless; a history book became an educational one, and that tiny, lovely, and perfect dress that I could (and would) never wear again was able to gently cradle the little bodies of those beautiful, quiet souls. And the rings are simply gone.

It’s not that the things that mean something to us change in and of themselves; it’s the way we view them that changes… and I know I’m not letting go and moving on as quickly as most (we’re three years out now — isn’t that nuts?), but I’m doing the best I can; releasing this here, relinquishing that there…

It’s just, when you set out to live your life honestly – with your heart resting right there on your sleeve – it’s really hard to hide it, you know? And I think that’s my big thing — that’s why I love animals and children and special people so much: They don’t try to hide anything. It’s very beautiful.

I read a Spanish proverb yesterday that hit deeply: Ojos que no ven, corazon que no siente. This means “eyes don’t see, heart doesn’t feel”, but we usually say it like this in English: “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.”

But that’s the other thing: Once you’ve loved someone, and I mean REALLY loved them, you know that love is there — you know what it feels and looks like, you know the realness of it, and you understand, intuitively, that it will never go away. So you never forget it, and it can’t not hurt you.

 

And I’m honestly not sure what this post was even supposed to be about… I’m sorry.

 

Still here,

Aun Aqui

 

 

 

Hang on, death; I’ve got places to go and people to meet

I had been talking on the phone with my dad — I’ve discovered, recently, that he’s surprisingly good at listening to my boy woes without interrupting or giving too much advice. I believe that, at one point, he said something like “ghost his ass” — I’m not a hundred percent on the wording, but it seems to stick out.

We also talked about anorexia (it’s re-surging again), and how I definitely get that from my mother.

“You get that from both of us,” Padre said, and I started laughing hysterically, because my father is NOT skinny, and then he laughed too, going on to say that he was actually starting to talk about OCD. I hadn’t realized he had OCD (like mom and I).

“What’s your biggest tic?” I asked.

“Sevens.”

“…sevens?” I repeated, delighted by the weirdness of his answer.

“Yes. Everything has to happen in sevens.”

What an interesting tic, I thought to myself, hating that it was already sounding like a good idea.

I pulled up to the farmer’s market, sat down on a bench, and watched a guy get out of a car with his dog — a big, white and grey Aussie with different colored eyes.

“I’ll let you go, daughter,” dad said. “I can hear that you’re at the place now.”

“Yeah,” I sighed. “I’m sitting on a bench. They’re playing live jazz music. Chris likes jazz. I hate Chris.” We both laughed at the lie, told each other we loved each other, and reminded each other that we’d see each other soon, up there in Nashville.

 

***

 

“Jon!” I exclaimed happily, removing an earbud. “Good morning!”

“What’s up?” my friend smiled, walking over in cool biker gloves and black skate shoes.

This was still yesterday, but a bit later in the morning; I was sitting inside of Red Cat now, and it smelled like coffee beans and sweet bread. “You know, I’m researching the Drake Passage today — FASCINATING!” I shook my head at him. “Have you heard of it?”

He paused to press his lips together and tip his head back.

“It has nothing to do with Drake, by the way,” I added helpfully. He laughed a little.

He didn’t know what it was (and neither did I, until very recently), so I shared with him the little bit of information I’ve gathered so far: The Drake Passage is a body of water (kinda below South America) where the Atlantic and Pacific oceans touch each other, and its volume of passage (whatever the heck that means) is 600 times that of the Amazon River. Sounds like a big deal, right? 

Anyways, the sea gets mega crazy with these upward swells that would blow your mind (and empty your stomach). It takes TWO DAYS to pass through the Drake Passage (catch my play on words there?) and reach Antarctica (from like, Chile).

 

“And I want to experience the Drake Passage soooooooooo badly,” I concluded, finally.

“…really?”

“YES — because maybe you live through it, and you’re different afterwards, or maybe you DON’T live through it… and that’s fine too,” because what a way to GO, I thought to myself, smiling and teeming with excitement over the mystery and danger tangled up with the endeavor.

We chatted for a while longer, both then and later on when he stopped back by the cafe and I was still there, and during our time together, he shared these particularly valuable tidbits with me:

  • If, while biking or doing other activities, you begin to experience muscle cramps, a quick shot of either mustard or pickle juice will almost surely ease your pain. Gross, huh? But why not give it a go!
  • One of his go-to life phrases (that made me laugh and ask him to repeat himself): “I’m too old for this mess… you leave this kind of stuff on the playground in elementary school.” Variations of this (which he also shared) would be preschool or kindergarten. 

And then he was off. I stayed in my chair, eager to resume my research.

***

A woman sitting nearby (who, I’d noticed, had a purple suitcase with her — interesting) suddenly inclined toward me.

“I wasn’t TRYING to eavesdrop,” she began, her novel accent immediately tickling my brain, “but this Drake Passage…”

We discussed it further; I explained to her how my depression steadily cruises along with me and how life-changing or life-threatening events (like hypothetically braving the Drake Passage) help jolt me back. We then discussed Chicago and Ecuador, as well as Michigan and Memphis, and somewhere over the course of an hour, I became friends with this insanely cool British lady named Paula.

Paula worked as an American Studies teacher over in Europe for 30ish years and is now enjoying being retired. She likes to explore the world, take pictures of things she likes, and chill. She’s been visiting the US for the past month, walking and training and bussing her way through the cities and states mentioned above (except Ecuador), and she really is the coolest.

We agreed that traveling alone is so much nicer than traveling in groups (I could name the reasons, but if you’ve already traveled both together and alone before, you know the difference). We exchanged numbers as well as email addresses and then she added me to her photo-sharing group.

I absolutely plan on visiting her sometime in the next few years so that we can wander the Jurassic Coast together (more ocean! more waves! more danger!) and, hopefully, catch up with David Tenant at some point (I know it’s lame, but I COULDN’T HELP but bring up Doc Marten and Broadchurch during our conversation — we’ve both seen the shows, and we both love those guys). After touring the Jurassic Coast, I intend to travel through the mainland of Europe solo, checking into hostels and AirBnBs in Portugal, Spain, Germany, and Italy… I would also love to place my feet in Ireland briefly, where I’m told I have roots.

 

Two things re: Paula and I’s conversation that I’m still thinking about:

A. The “Sleeping Bear Dunes” lake shore she visited while up in Michigan. Looking at her picture of it, you can see that the water itself is separated from the “main” mainland by this steeply slanted stretch of beach — it supposedly takes a full two hours to get down to the water and then make your way back up. I WANT TO GO!

But I want to spend the night camping down by the water with my non-existent boyfriend before coming back. We’ll pack manchego cheese sandwiches on sourdough, gray-green avocados and sprouted chips, and all of the stuff for s’mores… we’ll tell each other tales in Spanish and splash our feet in the water for as long as we’d like, long after 8:30, way past anybody’s bedtime. Talk about magical. And if someone could please tell this mystery man to get his shit together and COME FIND ME, it would be greatly appreciated. 

B. One of her pictures was of an Indian medicine wheel… I don’t know much about it yet (like, I literally know nothing), but the “spoke” or portion of the wheel that drew me in most was called The Season of Planting; it mentioned water, rabbits, and childhood, so it immediately resonated with me. “And the color for this one is yellow,” Paula pointed out. “You’re wearing yellow today!” she smiled kindly, pointing out my shirt as well. That’s why a yellow t-shirt is the “featured image” in this blog post (and that might have been obvious to you — regardless).

 

Talking with Paula was really rejuvenating, because I’ve been (big surprise) sad lately. Sad and lonely, and sad because I’m lonely. I basically feel like an alien without the cool alien status.

While being in water and sitting in coffee shops is helping with this perceived lack of connectedness, I’m realizing that actually engaging with people is important, too; playing a passive role in these various social theaters just isn’t cutting it anymore. It’s time for a little more courage — a little more self-esteem and initiative.

Paula initiated a conversation with me today, and look what came of it: shared joy over travel adventures, new friendship, and (whether they actually take place or not) happy future plans. I need to try initiating conversations like those myself (without being weird and awkward annnnnnnnd — yeah; as you can see, I’m already dreading messing it up). 🙂

Because while observing folks IS great for the imagination and for writing purposes, observing – by itself – doesn’t change you very much… and I’ve found that, when I change, I tend to improve, so I want to keep changing. Post-social-exchanges-and-life-experiences, I end up feeling more intuitive and discerning — more competent and equal and accepted by the world…

And interacting with somebody: looking at them, listening to their voice speak to you, and learning their story… is just way more interesting than simply watching them and feeling, somehow (and senselessly), alienated from them (as well as the rest of the world). At the risk of sounding new age-y as fuck, I believe that, when you share time and space with someone, a spiritual exchange of some kind happens… and paying attention to whether that other person’s spirit and words uplift or deflate you is key.

Basically, look at what you do, who you’re with, and what you tend to think about, as well as how you feel about all of these things… and then change what you need to so that you can change the way you’d like to see yourself change. People (including you) are inherently powerful, and their influence (as well as yours) is sublimely powerful.

 

Somewhat related: School (another social theater) is starting in less than two weeks, and I can’t wait to resume my studies. I’ve been keeping up with Spanish all summer and writing away, as always, so I’m 100% ready to go.

I also can’t wait to embark on all of these loosely-planned travel adventures: braving (and possibly surviving) the Drake Passage; backpacking through Europe with Paula and Tenant; mapping out a more thorough visit through several Latin American countries; and camping out on some lake shore in Michigan (with or without a boyfriend)… oh, the waterfalls! The avocados! The lattes and book shops and scrambled eggs everywhere! My parents and I are checking Nashville out together (for the first time EVER) next month… it sounds like music’s a pretty big deal up there, and the place appears to have no shortage of coffee shops, so I’m very much looking forward to the trip.

 

And, in summary, I’m re-realizing (because I do remember it, sometimes) that I’m definitely not ready to go yet (and by go, I mean go bye-bye; like, die-die). And that’s good! It really is. So here’s to talking with people and going places. *Raises latte and says something distinctly British, like cheers — quite mint, innit? Let’s splash out!*

[If you DO visit that hyperlinked website (clickable, above), holy shite… this one British-ism had me laughing like a goon. Apparently, “pants” means rubbish or trash, and the example given is simply “That is pants.” I’m going to start saying this as often as possible: “WHAT? There’s no Chipotle in Durango, Colorado?! Freaking pants.“]

 

Still here,

Aun Aqui

 

PS: I was finally able to touch base with one of my homeless friends yesterday morning — he DOES like peaches, so I shared two with him. His name, I discovered, is Stuart, and he is very, very nice.

PS^2: I was feeling glum last night (another emotionally-void-dude situation), so I made magic veggie sketti for Charlie and I (and I realized, immediately after publishing this, that “magic sketti” sounds like drugged sketti — I assure you, it was not). It helped a little. Is there a special meal that warms you up? 

 

 

River Soul

When I met this guy on Friday, I could easily imagine the aftertaste of our chemistry: tragedy, heartbreak, and another eclipse of souls. I know that I fall in love too easily, and I also know (now) how dangerous love is, so I excused myself upstairs, crawled under my covers, and listened to the distant sounds of an open mic night: two guys sharing a microphone like they didn’t care at all.

I slept for sixteen hours straight, without meaning to, and woke up disoriented — a German Shepherd dozing on either side of me.

A friend caught me at the cafe around three that afternoon; I told her how long I’d slept for and laughingly mentioned that I’d briefly wondered if I was dying.

“But really — are you okay?” she asked, looking in at me.

“Oh, I’m sure I am,” I answered quickly, shifting my eyes toward the window and murmuring something about an iron deficiency, but I really wasn’t bothered by the idea of falling asleep and never waking up again. It would be so easy — so much easier than all of this. I stirred my latte with a spaghetti noodle and looked over at my book on the table, her Pokemon bag on the table, my backpack on the floor…

 

***

Sometimes, I’ll let a comment slip; a dark wish or insight of mine. I’ll laugh about wanting to die, hoping I’ll die, hating that I can’t control when and how I die… something of the sort. And then the other person will go, “How dare you say that!” or say something similar. They’ll make me feel bad for not wanting to stick around for the 4% of their lives when I’m in their presence — and then I, in turn, can’t help but feel exasperated with people who, in truth, care about me very little yet dare to profess that they care very deeply and assume a sober expression of extreme botheredness when I’m simply being honest about feeling bitter about having to stick around so they can see me sometimes. It’s like, if I am exhausted by loneliness and animal cruelty and the terribleness of human beings and I really, consistently am not enjoying this at all, why should YOU make me feel guilty for wanting to throw in the towel? You don’t see me trying to make miserable old YOU stick around against your will… although I probably would if I thought you were considering not sticking around. Anyways, that’s beside my point (meaning it’s irrelevant).

As a coping-with-living process, death-therapy exercise, whatever, I pretended I was interviewing myself on the day of my death last week, and in the course of the interview, I wrote this down:

“So… it’s your last day.” Interviewer smiles kindly, pen in hand. “What did you enjoy the most?”

And then I – the interviewee – provided a list in response; I can’t remember everything I listed, but these are some of the things that – already looking back – I know mean a great deal:

  • Colors (I’m picturing the shades and hues of my favorite blankets and scarves)
  • Rivers
  • German Shepherds (they’re better than we are)
  • Sunshine (specifically, how it feels on your skin)
  • Storms
  • Food (particularly: cilantro, cumin and curry, avocado, and cardamom)
  • Lattes
  • Sounds
  • Microphones (I love how they interact with voices, changing them)
  • Autumn (everything about it)
  • Rabbits (they’re better than we are)
  • My bicycle
  • My backpack (it carries the little things I love most)
  • My guitar
  • Holding hands (not being alone)
  • Hugging, and being hugged (not being alone)
  • Falling asleep beside someone (not being alone)
  • Wind (I want to be a ghost)
  • Words

 

And despite the grand shittiness of feeling alone and misunderstood and boring and (irrationally) disliked by everyone in the world, I think I will stick around, because I feel bad about making other people feel bad and — who knows? If karma and reincarnation are real, I don’t want to intentionally hurt this soul of mine and thereby lessen its chances of coming back as a rabbit (which is strongly desired).

 

***

Another friend and I were messaging earlier today; he’s working through his weekend while I’m whiling mine away.

“I’m at a cafe now — going to lose myself to reading and researching rivers!” I shared.

“Why are you researching rivers?” he asked, and I smiled when I pictured his face.

“I feel oddly called by them recently,” I said, knowing it sounded new age-y as hell but also knowing there was no other way of describing it — that strange pull. 

So after researching “rivers in birmingham” (AL, not UK — had to be more specific w/Google!), I’m now off to one with sandaled feet and a shot of caffeine swimming through delicately thin veins. I’m not sure what I’m looking or hoping for, exactly, but I believe that being with a river today will at least be peaceful.

Before I go (bc I might get eaten by a freshwater alligator while I’m out and about… those DO exist, don’t they? A girl can dream, ha!), I’d like to share a short poem from this morning (I originally drafted it in Spanish but have translated it into English also).

 

alma del río 

yo puso mis ojos sobre el río
imaginé el frío, el movimiento, la vida

así yo puso mis pies bajo el río
sentí el frío, el movimiento, la vida

Y entonces dí mi alma al río
y me puse el frío, el movimiento, y la vida

 

river soul

i set my eyes on the river
imagined the cold, the movement, the life

so i put my feet down underneath the river
felt the cold, the movement, the life

and then i gave my soul over to the river
became the cold, the movement, and the life

IMG-3316
my new friend, Azul… you can hang out with her more in my next book: when you’re sad (Charlie and I are currently in phase 2/5, so it’s coming soon-ish) bc I’m mostly staying alive to write books, travel, and love animals
Still here,
Aun Aqui
Update @ 2:28 PM: No alligator incidents (or sightings).