You were there.
And I was there.
And so was Nana.
Nana and I were at the house, and we were lying out in the gravel driveway, with our necks propped up on our arms. It was almost comforting, massaging.
The sun was out.
We went back inside to get cushions or blankets. She sat in her recliner while I went to the bathroom. And as I sat on the commode, looking into the mirror, I noticed that at that moment my eyes were almost wolf-like. I’d never noticed them that way before. Then it dawned on me that they were light blue,
A piercing crystal blue.
And as soon as I noticed this, they turned back to brown,
With giant black pupils,
But it wasn’t the pupil, it was the iris.
I walked back to the living room to see Nana sitting in her recliner.
“Something weird is happening.”
“I know, I can feel it,” she replied.
“Ok, so do you prefer a blanket or a cushion?”
“It doesn’t matter. You can have the cushion. I’ll take the blanket. Or we could just stay in here and watch TV.”
She no longer wanted to lie out in the sun. Out of habit, the TV won.
I was in another house. At one point, looking to my left, Peter was there. And so was Miriam. We waved.
I was glad he was in town. He’d made re-fried beans and cheese in almost paper-thin tortillas. He offered me some, but I didn’t take any. I’d hoped it didn’t hurt his feelings.
“So you’re here.”
“Yeah, just got in. We’ve been driving all day.”
“Whoa, you look tired.”
“I’m exhausted.” He could barely stand up.
Flaco was staying over, and so was Amanda.
But there was a huge mess in the living room and kitchen. Garbage everywhere, a couple of boxes of thumbtacks had been dumped around. I vaguely remember someone else having been there, a girl, a roommate, but she was drunk and left the room, and the house, in a state of chaos.
And Sandra lived there too, she was the main roommate, the responsible one. But she hadn’t come home yet. Just as we were all getting ready for bed, I’d just snuggled in, I realized I needed to clean up. It wasn’t fair for Sandra to have to come home and deal with that. So I got up and began sweeping up the tacks and scrubbing the counters,
And there was another apartment, where you and I were staying. It was at Donny’s, but it was all sleek and white, and had a very narrow staircase that led up and out to the rooftop deck.
But we could barely get through, it was so tight.
I tried and scraped my elbows a few times, worried everyone would see my underwear since I was wearing a dress. It was claustrophobic, but I was determined to learn how to maneuver myself through, just to get to the deck.
Paul told me I could go to his restaurant one night and make a dish I’d come up with. It was two crispy, oval-shaped shredded cheese or potato or biscuit leaves fanning out behind a tropical sweet potato mash. He seemed excited about it.
So you and I went to the restaurant, but were seated at a table draped in white linen,
High-society types all around, sipping champagne, tasting all of his magically artistic, unbelievable creations.
The waiter came and went and came again, each time presenting yet another tiny exquisite course.
But it was getting closer to the last dish, and I could never catch Paul to ask him when he wanted me to prep my dish.
Soon the meal was over.
We walked back into the kitchen – waiters, busboys, cleaners whizzing past us, taking giant trolleys full of food or whatever back into storage. It was more like a factory. They kept hitting the wall with that one huge cart; I wasn’t sure they’d get it around the corner.
I was disappointed.
I thought maybe he might have actually been excited about my food.
But I must have been fooling myself.
I didn’t mention it.
I let it go.
“Ok, come with me guys,” he said.
We followed Paul, and a good part of the crew. Though I wasn’t sure if I’d locked the car, so tried to beep it locked from wherever we were.
We kept walking.
We came upon a dirty, old obstacle course of sorts with chairs and oddly placed fences, and instead of going down the muddy center, we climbed over their small rickety walls.
But you weren’t there, trailing somewhere far behind.
Paul said, “we could take the easy way out and just crawl over, or we could employ the Montalf Block Method,” or something like that. And we all laughed, me too; even though I had no idea what that was, I still totally understood.
“How much will you sell that microwave for,” one of the chefs asked the fat, sweaty man sitting behind us, pointing to a big black box on the floor in front of him.
But as he turned it around, the man replied, “Oh that’s not a microwave, that’s some sort of TV or electronic system.” We all said that last bit in unison.
Once past the fences, heading towards the elevators, I ran into Chef Philippe who I hadn’t seen in years. He told me he had kids now, a big one, and then seemed rather achy. I made some sort of comment about him needing to take it easy, but he took it sexually, as if I meant take it easy in the baby-making part. And we both laughed.
I kept turning around looking for you,
calling you even though you never pick up your phone.
And I knew you must have been tempted by something or someone back there, hiding it, that eventually you’d end up catching up,
all blurry-eyed and in a sad, defensive state of numbness.
And I would leave you behind not wanting to take on this embarrassment one more time.
But I did look back, and you weren’t there.
“I miss my boyfriend,” I said pouting under my breath, “even though he’s a poopy head.”