I remember lentil soup homemade by an old Jewish woman. I remember the warmth of a hand held during a personal discussion. I remember the smell of blueberry muffins from the oven. I remember the way butter melts. I remember the taste of a kiss.
They greet me at the door, wake me up if my alarm doesn’t go off, snuggle with me when it’s cold, are constant entertainment, take care of each other too, communicate with me in their own way, and are generally oh so cute.
I like to follow their flitting paths through the sky, they seem so indirect and wandering, whichever way the wind blow, which is rather inspirting.
a hot meal on a cold day
warms the stomach and the spirit. especially if includes a spice like cardamon
the physical closeness helps to break down the boundaries that separate us. love and energy shared. symbiosis.
like a puzzle, making things fit together and work in harmony
Liking something I didn’t think I would
it’s a good feeling
Noticing the beauty in ordinary things
light reflecting from a campbell soup can lid…
Chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven
the dough still gooey and the chocolate melted…yum
soothes the savage soul, even the Cerberus likes music, expresses so much, resonates
Spending time with my friends
friends are the family you chose
My most epic road trip that I would like to take would involve moving to the Southwest and driving there in my Toyota Matrix. In this fantasy, my dog that lives with my parents will not try to eat my cats, so I can take them all in the car with me. I'll keep the litter box on the back seat floor so the cats can go to the bathroom as needed, and I'll stop and walk Akira and Marko at rest areas. We would take a somewhat circuitous route through the midwest and northwest before coming back down and over in a half circle to the southwest and settle somewhere in Arizona or New Mexico.
I ordered two shots of orange vodka. “That’ll take the edge off,” I smiled slightly.
“Yeah, for both of us,” Dee returned my half-smile.
Dee is one of my best friends and a party promoter. After recently losing his father, Dee was throwing himself into work as much as possible. Sunday night was the first night for a new weekly event, Soulful Sunday “The Perfect Chill” at Doc’s Place in Shadyside. It was also the night for my first poetry reading in over two years. I was nervous because I hadn’t read in so long, and because I would be reading a lot of new material.
“To your reading,” Dee proposed a toast. We clinked glasses and threw it back. The DJ was getting set up, and the night was just getting started. I hugged Dee and headed off to my reading.
There, two more of my best friends came to support me, Mindy and Roger. After the reading, they were full of praise. Roger said he would handle promotion for my book, and I believe he meant it. I dropped by brownie icing first on the carpet, and Mindy snagged the last one for me. I write all this to say: I am blessed, truly blessed. In this lifetime, we are lucky if we have one true friend, and I am blessed with an abundance. I hope that I am able to be there for them as much as they have been there for me. My friends, I hope you know who you are, and I hope you know I am always here for you and I love you.
For most of my life, my best friends have been older than me. As a highschool freshman, I hung out with the seniors, and then the next class of seniors until I was a senior myself and somewhat alone. All of the men I have dated have been older than me, the oldest as much as 26 years older. So it was with some amount of surprise that I realized for the first time in my life I have as many friends who are younger than me as I do who are older than me. This, I realized, is because I am getting older, so the younger than me isn’t that young anymore!
Sometimes hanging out with a younger crowd has some amusing gaps in reference points. I came back into the room where Darrow (age 18) and Lil’ Trish (age 16) were sitting, looking through my records.
“Tell me these aren’t what I think they are,” said Darrow.
“Records?” I said not sure if that was what he was referring to.
“No, I mean these aren’t 40s?”
“They’re 45s,” I said, smiling.
“Aren’t those the big ones?”
“No, those are 33s.” This was amusing.
“Oh I said 31s or something.”
“Why don’t you sell them? Lil’ Trish asked. “Who has these? I’d be getting on e-bay.”
“Because I listen to them,” I explained.
“On what?” she looked around the room.
“On that.” I pointed.
“Oh I thought that was a suitcase.”
“It’s. My. Fisher Price. Record Player. From when I was a kid.” Amusing could turn to annoying rather quickly.
“Damn, Sarah, you are old.”
I have been thinking so much of my friend Trevor lately. I realize now it was my subconscious reminding me that he died around this time seven years ago.
Trevor Goddard was an actor perhaps best known for his portrayal of Royal Australian Navy lawyer Mick Brumby in the TV series JAG. He also played Kano in Mortal Kombat. His last role was a bit part in Pirates of the Caribbean 2. I wrote Trevor a letter in 1999 because I appreciated his portrayal of the very gray Cmndr Brumby as opposed to the black and white hero types. Some fans actually seemed to dislike the actor when Goddard’s character hooked up with Catherine Belle’s character whom they thought should be with David James Eliot’s character. I wanted to let Trevor know there were people who could still make the distinction between actor and character and that his nuanced portrayal of a complex character was appreciated.
To my surprise he wrote me back. He even asked questions about my life. I wrote him back with the answers. This time I also included my email address and our correspondence began in earnest. It became a regular thing for me to get back to my dorm room from class and chat with Trevor on AIM. I would tell him about my classes, and about my hopes and dreams.He would update me on new jobs, how his day went, things he hoped to accomplish. He always encouraged me to follow my dreams.
I will never forget the night that Trevor called me from a pay phone of some dive bar. I was fast asleep when he called and if I hadn’t talked to him on instant messenger the next day and confirmed it, I’d have thought I dreamt the whole thing. I remember he said he was playing pool and I asked if he was winning. This didn’t seem to be the response he’d expected and he emitted a short laugh of surprise. It was always like that with us, never knowing what the other one would say. He asked me if I wanted to go back to sleep and I said yes, and did. Whenever we talked to each other before bed we’d end our exchange with G’night, and, sweet dreams. I hope the place Trevor is now is like a sweet dream.
Throughout time, shaving of the head has been used to represent endings and new beginnings. In some Hindu traditions, widows shave their heads. The same is true of mourners in many Native American cultures. Head shaving has often been performed prior to pilgrimages and as ritualistic cleansing. In some cultures and religions shaving of the head is prohibited. Some cultures have underground movements leaning on all sides of the spectrum that represent themselves with shaved heads. “People whose hair falls outside a culture’s aesthetic standards may experience real or perceived social acceptance problems.”♦
I wasn’t thinking about any of this before I shaved my head. It was a spur of the moment kind of thing, and it wasn’t until I looked in the mirror afterwards that I realized how drastic of a change it would be. The funny thing is, this was the first time in years that I had looked into the mirror and recognized the person staring back at me. Everyone had a reaction to my hair (or lack thereof). It was winter, so I could wear a hat, and often had to due to the increased heat escaping from my now unshod head. But indoors, I mostly didn’t. I revelled in people’s expressions towards me. Before this I would avoid people’s attention, blend in to the background. I prided myself on being unnoticed. This was definitely something noticeable. I received a lot of compliments, people saying they liked it or it looked good on me, it suited me. A lot of people didn’t like it, but they still respected that i had done it. The most extreme reactions came from relatives. Not from my parents, whom I had initally been afraid to show. My parents didn’t like it personally, but they were pretty much “that’s sarah,” and shrugged it off kind of thing. It wasn’t until I got flack from a cousin I am not close to that my Mom stepped up to defend me. A cousin, whom has had little to say to me over the years, felt the need to express her displeasure on my facebook page. “Don’t you think it’s about time to grow up and act a little more mature,” she asked. “You’re getting a little old for teenage stunts. I’m all for freedom of expression but this is a little too far.” I was taken aback because I felt this was no reflection on my maturity. I maintained my household, taking care of my pets and paying my bills. I went to work everyday and stayed involved in my community. And hair, not to sound obvious, grows back. I had done nothing to harm anyone, not even myself, the cosmetic changes being temporary. It was at this time my Mom left a message on my wall: “Your are beautiful and brave. Love you.” And therein lies the crux. My Mom was able to see past my appearance to the girl she’d raised from a baby who was struggling with being a grown woman, but finding her own way.
In retrospect, shaving my head was both an ending and a new beginning. It was when I made a conscious decision not to care what other people thought and to spend some time finding out who I was. My hair is growing back in and I plan to let it grow for a while. I’m at a stage where I am content with where my life is going, so I’ll just go with it for now. Since I left home 11 years ago, I have lived in at least 10 different buildings in four different cities. I actively seek out divergence from the norm. So eventually, I’ll be ready for another change. But for now, I’m just letting go.