“Enjoy your day”, she said, departing the bakery with a white box in a white bag and a white dog in tow. The bell jangled on her way out the parking lot, where the parking lot teemed with cars; Cars belonging to people also going to bakeries, the back-to-school shopping, and picking up food for takeout. A strip mall on a weekend.
The drive back home is uneventful, this sweet delight in the front seat making the car smell buttery and delicious. A blueberry pie awaits inside, freshly made; Large granule cane sugar, caramelized, sits on top of the upper crust. There are little holes in the lattice, showcasing deep blue squares. The fruit cooks down to delicious gelatin once it’s heated and mixed with sugar. The way this must’ve bubbled in the oven. The anticipation of cutting a slice and cutting the tip with the side of your fork. Perfect with milk or coffee or tea. Food is medicine, even if all it does is cheer you up, or remind you of a memory with a lover and different pie.
What a strange thing to be alive and be human; To have blueberry pie be a thing. Knowing that perhaps there’s a parallel world out there where it’s not, where the blueberry plant did not survive evolution, or become extinct. Or maybe the dinosaurs ate them all. There always seems to be something festive about a pie. The sweet/tart explosion on taste buds and the smell of sugar and butter. Cinnamon and vanilla extract – which I recently saw a Barefoot Contessa video on how to make that fresh; Crazy, wild.
I am also partial to blueberry muffins and crisps and waffles and pancakes. Blueberries just taste so good with carbs. And are also great alone. I’ve been enjoying some with peach and yogurt and cereal lately. It’s like a morning time dessert.
Eyes wide as blueberry pies – That’s pretty wild (and wide). Going off what I need to know, marshaling, pooling my talents together, waiting for it to rain. Also recently saw an Instagram ad of a kind of handrake that combs through the branches of the blueberry tree(/bush?) and the berries fall into the bucket of this handrake. I had never seen anything like it before. Storebought, homemade.
Underwater keepsakes. Hunting, diving, fishing, looking for shells, for stones, for sand. The water is murky and not clear. Influx of sodium abound and packs a punch to my already stimulated senses. It generates saliva. It makes me spit. Ocean water, salty and sure of itself for what it is. “Whale piss”. But salt is good for you – as long as you don’t overdo it long term.
At first the waves feel cool and cold against overheated, SPF’d skin. There is a tenseness, a trepidation at first. Hair follicles contract. Feet tell the brain: “Icy!” But after a toe comes a foot, and after a foot comes an ankle, and after an ankle comes a calf, which leads to a knee, which leads to the mid-thigh. But then it’s, “Okay, stop!” And now you’re feeling good, but what became bearable to your legs seems a little more unbearable to your upper self. Shuffling forward, your feet sink into course sand. The waves are at your belly now. The seagulls are calling. The lifeguard is watching. There is a din of kids about, splashing and playing and crying and calling out to one another. Goggles protect their eyes from sunscreen, from the irritating salty water of the deep. So that they can see for themselves how murky it is.
I remember once going to Point Pleasant with my dad when I was six. A wave knocked me down so hard and I could not get up. Seconds felt like agonizing eternities as I spun about, unable to resurface. My dad pulled me, my mouth full of seawater and tears, the taste of which I could not tell the difference. I cried and cried. We packed up our stuff. I recall a boardwalk ride that was like a school bus, 2D but going round and round. I think that was Point Pleasant and not Rehoboth in Delaware, where we did spend a few family vacations. These little pinpricks of trauma dot my existence and for better or worse shaped me into the adult I am today. I can still see the murky water, eyes open in fear taking in all around me. “Respect the ocean”, a past high school principal said on the eve of Prom. Chuckling abound in the auditorium as we were all immortal then, and knew no fear. Invincible teenage emotion is a pretty potent drug, it’s a pretty potent state of mind. I’m reminded of those of our graduating class who are no longer with us…Waterfronts and unwelcome sunrises that beam lights onto truth.
Launching upwards at the opal sky, aliens watch and wait, indecisive and twiddling their many opposable thumbs. The androgyny of the astronaut suit or costume; Genderless. Bulky and broad in shape. So much risk involved to launch oneself quite literally out of this world. There is no sound or smell or breeze in space. It is nothingness where stars go to die. And it is in this graveyard where the stars know and have forgotten everybody’s name. Because it doesn’t matter. Because all there is is this upward void, beautiful as it is.
I think of Tang juice pouches and their powdered predecessors. I think of the dehydrated ice cream at the Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. I think of the future, the sour/sweet of it all. The unexpected textures love and loss will bring. Experiencing hues throughout Life’s journey.
If I were an astronaut, my heart would beat out of my chest. How could you ever sleep before, during, or after launch? The future forever changed. Time-release LSD. No sunlight, too many buttons, pristine metal fixtures. Are there bunks and cots? Do you sleep standing up connected to some wire? All the science must swim strong in your brain; You gotta think up there; It’s not just about living the day-to-day. There are no creature comforts in orbit. Mind melts at the thought.
Ah, but to see Earth from a circular window, perfectly ensconced in the sun’s glow; Perhaps that would all be worth it. To live with that rise and set, that constant companionship. I think of blue whales, friendly and comforting. I think of partnership and thanks. Regulars don’t get or understand just how special this amazing thing is. Marvelous design. I hope I don’t put it to shame.
Creaks on the hull. Ship in danger. Parachuting falls millions of miles. A terrifying colorful scheme. Too high, too high, too high. Stomach does somersaults on the descent. You do your own confession, make your peace with God, willingly watch the Kodak slides of your life, praying you’re not skipping over the good parts, and tell the little voice wondering quietly aloud, “What might it be like to die?”, to please be quiet.
I come to you from a darkened space as a mannequin in the dark of 1950s department store. A time-traveling mannequin. That’s explains my acute awareness of the year. The quiet, so deafening and distracting in its loudness. Perhaps a creak or two from the ventilation system – or a ghost. Dust motes swim silently in the air, gliding by unrefracted light. I am a jet ski laser focused on monuments, schilling sipping psilocybin, crying out, “Lord, please!”. It’s all too much. Rock-a-bye tumbling class, long legal sheet, pink pieces of paper. Christmas tree decorations and ornaments hang. There are rugs that cover large stretches of cold, concrete floor and on each end, a wrinkled tassel sewn in gold-hued thread. Pleasure pointers, pier-pushers. In to the dirty water I go. The Third River. Staples and tape and hot glue guns do not wash away sin, but stick to what needs to be stuck. Grinning at the mere thought of spinach-speckled teeth. Warmed unique Eunice after a cold spring day. Marching orders from high command. The greens and browns and camouflage to where it doesn’t blend in anymore. Riot city makes it rain and wait. Flowing, flowering, gasping, fawning. Paper hats at a fast food restaurants; The crinkles they make. Hand-cut fries. Steak frites. Marshland, traversing through with heavy boots. Dizzy spells. Unwell. Little bells ring on the sides of the rug and are disturbed when stepped on. Not wanting to forfeit or fear. Making me believe. 2010 iPod mini. The ones with all the different colors. Concepts change and evolve. I want a hammer. Reaching through dollhouse garage like a giant Godzilla dressed in pink, not understanding that I am terrorizing Barbie and all her friends and kids and her kids’ friends. Creamed corn served up slow. Piece the memories together like scrapbooked photographs; After school kitchen clubs where the atmosphere felt mildly jovial, but still annoyingly repressed. Pitcher filled with lemonade, skirting the table cloth, the waitress makes a fast recovery and pours expertly. Her nametag says “Tina” and she has curled, light-red hair and is wearing lipstick. The journey here was long.
Charcoal etches a fine design. Like wisps of carbon and ash and coal, whispering shapes to live, to life. Lines drawn and coaxed so that their edges are relaxed. All rounded bends and no sharp corners. It tastes bitter in my mouth remembering the remembrance of you. Saintly slips of the tongue usher in new awakenings and new boundaries. Rocketships take flight, acknowledging the first pang of love. The pre-flight checklist in confirming its certainty. Sweets seem bittersweet; Bougie chocolate chips, gripping my wallet and sucking my teeth begrudgingly paying, on line at the grocery storm, store, story. Simplest of feet shuffles. Red converse and the scuffed toe that tells a non-eventful story of not picking up my feet enough. Depression from the head down. It falls like cold, frigid air. An open window above my bed in February. A month known for its dreary frost. Where one has thoughts about, “will winter ever truly end?” So much for sailboats and warm winters in coastal southern cities. A 70 degree Christmas. Art museum excursions. Hallucinating sounds of seagulls, circling. Pavlov effect where I can hear the ocean and taste saltwater in my mouth. Where my mind is about to breach with summertime manifestations, hopes and dreams and memories. All signals point. Granted, it’s whatever I say it will be. Major investments in law and banking. Snarky grumbles and grimaces of men sitting in teak rooms; They are wide and their faces are large and pig-like. I cannot find commonalities with them. Gentrified neighborhoods suffering their own fleeting deaths. Marble countertop monthly installments. Getting a grip. Baseball bat, choking up. Same marginal difference. Rutland. Wetland. Christ for Christmas. Lederhosen antiquities. Time and place. Rushing the eventualities. Needing a pause. Questioning none. Roots dig into fertile ground and rustle the soil in slow motion. Sometimes the ground can get really stubborn. I am wanting and wishing forever. Putting on airs and glancing at troubadours past. Unnecessary homework. Grimace and shake. McDonald’s drive-thru convenience. Coming up crisply, Crispix cereal. Halloween, nighttime. Glance at pumpkin. Razorblade sharp. Billow and bend. Creating cracklings around.