I wrote this one morning. It was to a friend about what I was feeling. It needs some massive editing but I believe it really speaks to the state I was in. 'Til next time.
Last night, I climbed up four flights of stairs and passed out (from lack of breath) into the ending of a mushroom/veggie stir fry dinner. The staff leaned back with their full bellies and laughed. They chuckled out that all-knowing laugh we give when we see someone with the same level of exhaustion we endure.
I sat down and ate the last few spoonfuls while listening to Sam. We go around the table each night and go over our Roses & Thorns (highs & lows). Sam is a warm Irishman with a perpetual 5 o'clock shadow. He makes me believe the Irish find responsibility repellent and drinking while spooning Swedish girls the only truly adequate past time. When he laughs, which is his second favorite hobby, you can see the damage too much cigs and whiskey have done to his teeth. Each morning, after reluctantly cleaning 6-8 beds, Sam dashes out the door without notice. It's his routine. His ritual. It reminds his soul he is free and no one needs to know. You'll be surprised to learn that his Irish looks spur no charm. He carries with him a nonchalant response to anyone who's ever cared about him. "Yes darling, I love you two. Could you pass the whiskey?" But that night, at Gino & Carlo's bar in North Beach, he stood under the neon red Budweiser sign with a pool stick in his hand, leaning down for the eight ball shot and looked magnetic. I suppose the Irish were made for the night because his face almost glistened in the darkness.
Stormy is the girl in the staff room. Her presence fits her name and it's a little unsettling. She is quick to finish dinner, quick to finish talking, quick to run errands and quick show you what she spent all night drawing by herself alone in an empty co-working lab downtown. I used to find her rapid departure from the dinner table terribly annoying until I realized she is simply running running away. I think she said it one night, in passing, as a joke. "Okay. I'll sit." I don't blame her. Her very presence feels like a rustled war, all trapped up, contained inside. Except her eyes. If she's feeling less like herself, less afraid, like she was last night (the moon was full), she'll let you in with a glimpse of the waves just settling within her eyes. And then it's over. It's gone. Just like her. For a few nights. Until it's her shift begins again and she returns.
Albert is a small Kiwi (New Zealander) with the most beautiful long blonde dreads. He's got a nose ring he constantly fiddles with, which does little to deter the ladies. And his skin is so white, it's almost pink. Anyone with any relationship experience can tell you, just by looking at him that his heart has never been broken. He constantly looks at women with his hopeful, longing green eyes. I fear his naïveté. But I also envy it. He doesn't know but I don't have the heart to tell him: love is real an it can destroy-as quickly as it made life within him. I simply envy him.
While I stuffed down a spoonful of mushy rice, a woman walked in-a total Amber. She's a returning guest who constantly wears big soft sweater-like blouses beneath her long stringy amber hair. She adorns her delicate frame with carefully selected southwestern jewelry. I spent the last 30 minutes looking at checking out her rings and necklaces in hopes for a peek underneath that blouse. Finally, after listening to some strenuous small talk, she revealed to me that she's a recovering anorexic and that she used to work out 5 hours a day. She only does yoga now and makes careful effort to "not exercise out of hate." My heart dropped to the floor and from then on, her continuous strain of details on her every life event didn't seem so strenuous to hear. It's much easier now to give her the space to reveal what she can and to hide what she can't.
That night, after a strong buzz from the free beer from working the pub crawl, I tucked myself under the sheets in my hostel bed, alone and cozy. I wondered for a long time about these people, who share the same roof as I do. I wondered about who they were as kids and what compelled them to let go of everything they know to spend the next year so far from home. But then, my thoughts settled onto the truth that's been quite difficult to accept. Who am I to think my darkness was dimmer than theres?? Who am I to think I know more pain and more suffering than they do?? There is an arrogance to that kind of thinking and it's dangerous. It isolates and pushes us away from the very reason we were all born. We all sit with rotten teeth, stormy hearts and pink flushed bodies under the stars beneath the sea.
I dreamt about you last night, which is unusual. I never dream about you. My dreams are usually quite violent and difficult and so naturally, you're never there. My head filled up with this scene where I was getting ready for bed in this strip-mall type place. Not sure why, but I felt comfortable and cozy in the peach light. You came by with your purse on your shoulder, in this lovely country linen sundress. You looked down and smiled, like you always do. I forgot what we talked about. Sometimes I don't listen. I'm sure you know that. I can't help it. Sometimes I just need a few moments to take in how beautiful you are. But then I felt something, something all too familiar and strong and I just blurted out, without even thinking, without considering how you might take it, feeling the fear of your reaction as they slipped past my lips "Are you okay?" You just cried. I woke up.
I know you're okay. I know you're doing well. I know you're doing your very best with all that's being thrown at you, investing in your future. You're working hard building your future, one class and act of kindness at a time. I liken you in my head to a wise Stark woman preparing for winter. I just wanted you to know that I'm thinking about you and that I love you and carry you in my thoughts as I prepare for winter too. Because ultimately, we are all wondering around the same dark street, with the same want for God and each other. Right?