In the dead of winter, I was finally ready to clean out nearly 30 years of memories.
Following tradition, I inherited the packrating gene from my maternal line. The tendency to appreciate sentimentality and affection attached to different items has led to a collection of the past, manifesting my own fear of forgetting.
A misplaced memory of my first kegstand returned after I came across the keg’s label identifying the Black Butte Porter, throwing me into that backyard summer night surrounded by friends. And finding that maroon bra, which I continuously wore in middle school, evoked feelings of my first exploration into color.
Between math tests, baby sweaters, plane ticket stubs, ill-fitting concert t-shirts, and high school graduation cards with forgotten bills (and an elapsed check), I discovered a pile of my dress-up clothes that belonged to my mother and grandmother. Squashed between the 1950s matching shoes and bags, were two ziplock bags of corsages. My mother’s corsages were dried and brittle, but they still stood for something: for her youth, her vitality, her future.
In the end, I kept the keg label, threw out the bra, and returned the corsages to my mother.
There is still the fear of forgetting – forgetting how I came to be who I am. But somewhere I already know that my existence, right now, honors everything that came before.
Sunset sitting atop a wrinkled sand dune, the desert freely offering everything you might expect from it:
layers of shifting curves, open horizons, extreme sense of spaces.
We watched the sun set. Then –
Dry breezes. Rolling. Dizziness. Unforeseen sandy places. Nomadic pillows. Lounging. Stargazing applications. Jupiter? Silver trays. Slurping soup. Carrots. Zucchini. Random meat. Mint tea.
Unquestioned shooting stars. Firelight. Hot coals. Disappearing sheesha smoke. Riddles. Stories. Dancing. Lapsing shadows. Singing voices. A Milky Way backbone. Stillness.
Haphazard sleep. Raindrops. Cold wind. Bright 2 a.m. moonrise. Brighter 4 a.m. moon peak.
Sunrise sitting atop a wrinkled sand dune, looking 180-degrees in the opposite direction, the desert freely offering everything you might expect from it: night and day, heat and cold, change and timelessness.
Offering the duality of a desert night:
isolation and community.
It was exactly what I never knew I ever needed: four hours, just sitting, in one spot. It was one of those moments you have lived all your life for. It didn’t happen a moment too soon.
With a purposeless afternoon approaching, I wandered through some random streets dripping with graffiti until I saw some square, strewn with some tables, in some part of Barcelona.
I sat down and ordered a glass of wine. I saw the restaurant proprietors carelessly lean with folded arms against the door jams. I gave the wandering toothless violinist a few coins. I listened to the clatter of silverware, the waves of lilting conversations, and a disconcertingly comfortable hum of a buzzsaw in the background.
I ordered another glass of wine. I wrote in my journal trying to catch up on the last week, but instead I wrote of the passing humanity – as I noticed them and they noticed me. The man who kissed his lover in her ass-tight jeans, the homeless man who disappeared into different restaurants and returned to the square adjusting his pants, the little pig-tailed girl dressed all in denim and flying through the square.
The waiter brought me a third glass of wine, accompanied by some ceviche salad and ‘brave potatoes.’ I watched the pigeons dauntlessly buzzing people in the square, and I noticed the light shift into the autumn trees.
Four hours later, I just had to use el bano, so I paid my bill (13€), and left.
I left with a new moment: feeling the peace and meaning of space, around form, in a purposeless afternoon.