Hopping off the bus, in the shadow of the capital building. Walk down brick streets to where the monument at the center of Monument Circle stretches into an epic blue sky, or at least what can be seen of an epic blue sky between the sort-of skyscrapers that build the city. Hot bricks under plastic shoes, wearing some uncomfortable set of clothes from work. Pride and confidence pulsing, because for some reason riding the bus just inspires this sense that one is capable of doing anything. I never would have survived in a big city before now.
Washington D.C., 1991, 1997
The Beltway. An epic line of cars, stretched out from here to there, consuming my four year old mind. Maybe I didn’t notice it that much, but it sticks out so clearly. The immeasurable waves of heat as I stepped outside from a store. The complete lack of desire to step out onto the hot asphalt. The discomfort of flip flops between my toes. The smell of storms and the muggy heat that brings out sweat when chasing lightning bugs. Sitting on a porch with my cousin, some confused, weird little ten year old. Swimming pools. Jellyfish. A curve in the road just before the street I grew up on dead-ends.
Eagle River, 1999
Panoramic across from me at the dinner table, a mountain stares at me. A big, solitary mountain, though it’s just a matter of perspective because while its cut off a bit by some valleys, its part of a much, much bigger range of mountains that in fact forms part of the Rockies which we all know stretches down to like, Mexico or something. The glass flexes between me and the mountain as the wind blows. It’s a warm November wind, the Chinook wind, come up from Hawaii, bringing with it the Bohemian Waxwing birds that eat the Mountain Ash berries on the tree outside and get so drunk they fly into the windows if we don’t drop all the shades. Fuck, there’s even moose in the front yard sometimes. This must be why people look at me so strangely when I say I’m from Alaska.
Both windows are open, and the gentlest of breezes drifts across the room, right across the bed where I’m laying, probably trying not to think about things. In the beautiful room I painted a sage green, movie posters on the walls, I am completely surrounded inside a bubble where the real world doesn’t exist. All that exists is me; narcissistic, 21-year old me, with my heart broken of my own accord, just praying for a storm or something to break the heat because it’s pretty unbearable anyway without sweating all the time. Or maybe it was just that first spring breeze, where I knew the heat was coming, but it was the sweetest smell and feeling to be completely caught in the cross-draft along with my pillows.
Heat. Ungodly heat. Nearly passing out in Grant Park, sweat dripping off me as some band plays on the stage. Can’t remember who it was anymore. Just remember the company, the sounds, the wine. Drinking red wine until it wasn’t quite safe to stand, making out with James, though I’m not sure I have ever actually confessed that one before. Radiohead with the light show, Rage Against the Machine with the red star, and Kanye with the entire fucking skyline. Having a tan was lovely that summer, kept me from burning quite so bad, though let’s be real, that’s always going to happen. Running through the fountains like I’m five years old again. It’s nice to take a break from adulthood; why don’t we do this more often? Oh wait, he didn’t join me. He never joined me.
I just did a series of vignettes tonight to try and get a bit out of my comfort zone. You all know how I am, how the work is going, how much I have to do, you know? Let’s get uncomfortable together.