And the sky broke open and I saw more than I knew was there before, or rather, I saw what I knew was hidden from me. By whose design, you can be sure it was my own. It usually is.
Our afternoon flight was canceled so we stood in long-winded lines while the sky turned bloody through the distant windows. It wasn’t one of those fussy sunsets either, it was the kind that lights up the whole arcing firmament with the conviction of its own death, a sky that comes along once every few years and demands your attention. The last one I saw was running in Alexandria, Louisiana, running under the trees and getting lost in labyrinthine neighborhoods; anything so long as my eyes could continue to consume the singular chorus of fire that was fading so soon.
It was one of the least miserable waits in line of my life. The guy was friendly and looked a little like Morgan Freeman, which turned me to liking him immediately. Mr. Jones was his name. So I left and went to wait in more lines and then some more, until finally I had a boarding pass and a plan and an appetite for a cheesy cream sauce with gamey red meat; a sausage of beef or rabbit, and fresh Italian noodles. I settled on a restaurant called “Alaska” because it had sit-down tables and antlers hanging from the ceiling, even though the music was too loud. The beef stew was the closest I could get to my fantasy meal, and arrived to me in a black Styrofoam bowl. I believe the recipe called for the same kind of meat they use in manufacturing cat food. The chunks of meat, which appeared to be pored and generally did look like overstewed bits of beef, actually squished like play dough in my mouth. Very unexcited about the meal, I ate it out of boredom that it didn’t even take the edge off. I then wandered in search of the deliciousness of an almond croissant. I was absolutely set on giving myself a treat. The dried up brick of “cheesecake brownie” that I settled on was very disappointing and I was just as bored with it, even though I had the added fun of obsessing over whether or not the crumbs were going to fall into my keyboard.
However I did get to spend some time reading a book that Kristina lent me probably the better part of a year ago. A sort of autobiography of Jung, beginning from his earliest childhood memories. I find mine were more beautiful and more profound, yet I still feel a kinship and my interest is piqued. It has been so long since I read, which is shocking considering the creature I was twenty years ago hated any moment not spent reading.
Lowering slowly into Oakland, I begin remembering my time here with a wrench in my gut. Mostly I remember the solitude and the ambition of the girl who moved here and threw everything onto this singular focus; to at once be worthy and have the best worthiness of the stage and the air over it. I took the BART to Oakland every Tuesday for a three hour rehearsal and still went to train afterwards. The silence and the stillness between BART trains and Muni buses and knowing that no power in the universe would ever make it faster, and time is just something that goes quickly and is sacrificed often when one lives in the city and has no money.
I found ways of spoiling myself. Shaun, mostly, in sporadic intervals arrived into my life in a fanfare of magic and color and pleasure and comfort. Not that he didn’t bring his own challenges…naturally, and according to my own design, he complicated my life in as many ways as he simplified it but he has always been a feast in every way.
And Kristina like a beacon of sanity and all the soul of those shrieking sunsets, settling into my life like a sister of the old blood who had always known, and to a greater extent, the reason I could not turn away from it.
Now I’m on BART, once again, and traveling at the speed of something towards my uncle Bradley and the glowing polish of his wood-paneled apartment. The haven and the sanctuary of him, so sleepy probably and ready for me to get in, have a cigarette, and go to sleep.
I am a lucky star.