5 January 2014
My day consisted of washing the dishes. Every time I turn it seems I was always doing that. My hands submerged in soap and water, the sponge moving in circular motions. I’ve put on some music and was humming to myself: Sinatra, Holiday, Fitzgerald. Armstrong, Baker, Monk. Gershwin.
It’s a Sunday and I’m standing in front of the sink, the front of my shirt wet from where I leaned on the counter for too long. Perhaps this is praying. Perhaps this is giving thanks. I watch the water come and go. I feel the sweat trickle down my back. I listen to Nina Simone and the tremor in her voice and I think, this is my life.
I made some fruit shakes. Well, two kinds. One is a combination of apple, banana and papaya. The other is guyabano (soursop) with milk and ice and sugar. We always have lots of fruits around this time because it’s a local belief here that one must have thirteen round fruits on the table come New Year’s Eve. It’s for good luck, they say. I think it’s rubbish but hey, whatever floats your boat, yeah? I love fruit anyway, and that means grapes for days.
And oranges. I peel an orange and in that tiny moment I think I understand what living is–acknowledging the time it took for this fruit to grow and arrive at your hands, biting and sucking on the pulp, licking the juice at the corner of your mouth. Everything in the world conspiring to give you that one moment, and you devour it, and afterward the smell of orange will linger on your fingers.
Ah, I probably don’t make much sense. It’s past midnight now.
It’s been another afternoon of rewatching films, and today it was Midnight in Paris and A Good Year. A good combination, I think. One to remind me that I can enjoy the present as much as I love the past, that there’s no shame in nostalgia though I also need to remember that I am in the here and now. The other to give me a glimpse of what matters, in the end–and it is not money. Never money. But life. And love.
Speaking of love–if ever I do get married, Marc Streitenfeld’s Wisdom will definitely be a part of it.
I was thinking, earlier, while waiting for the plates to dry–I must have missed a step somewhere, you know?
Say there’s some invisible instructions on how to live a life. Perhaps an adult life, I should clarify. How to have a career. How to be responsible, and all that. I was thinking, I must have missed a step. Most of my friends my age have almost got it together. They’re almost done with being awkward, of fumbling and being colossal fuck-ups. They’re thisclose to getting it, and I could see it, and feel it. Very soon now, and they will be successful. (Some of them already are.)
I must have missed a step. I was shaking out the spoons and forks and I was thinking, somewhere, somehow, one of my index cards must’ve fallen out. And I’ve been ad-libbing ever since. Improvising, tinkering, finding my way back again. So: I’m a bit behind. Just a bit, maybe.
But I’m looking at it this way: my sister bought a flat-screen TV the other day, and she left it to me to set it up because apparently I am the “techie” one and should be able to figure it all out quickly. I flipped through the manual for a bit. Didn’t understand most of it. Looked at the parts. Assembled them eventually through trial and error. Winged it, perhaps. I must’ve missed a step because it took me more than an hour to get it running.
But it did run.