My first experience with Magic was when I was 8 years old.
My mom took us to the desert. It was hot and uncomfortable. I hated it. I complained all day – I want to go home already.
We pitched our tents and mom warmed up some ham, pineapple n’ cheese sandwiches. I had been waiting all day – God, those things are deliciously good, especially how mom toasts them.
The sun descends and night rises.
I had escaped into yet another Sweet Valley High novel; in the background, the sound of my brothers playing near the campfire.
At some point, I looked up to the smell of bread toasting and ham sizzling.
And I nearly lost my shit.
There in front of me, all around me, were a million stars. A gazillion of them.
Mom must’ve clocked my surprise cuz she says, “Put your book down and breathe it in.”
You know that song by Coldplay? Look at the stars, look how they shine for you?
One of my favorite songs.
When that song plays, I often think about that moment in the desert; book in hand, ham sizzling, brothers laughing, and pure Magic painted across the sky.
Speechless, humbling Magic right above us.
That was the first time I was certain there was a God.
This is my shadow.
A life a few feet behind me.
That shirt. God, I thought I tossed it.
This smell..brings me back to here.
When it was then.
I sat at this very table processing, organizing, dreaming, concocting.
He sat catching a show on the tube.
I would go to sleep full of dreams and plans and, well, darkness.
How can you build on unsteady ground?
This work is hard and real and very necessary.
These pants. I hope they fit.
Do I still want the books, the socks, the dusty makeup?
Maybe not the makeup.
The muffled city outside taps on my window.
Tomorrow, lovely one. Tomorrow.
My little treetop of goodness.
How it fills my soul.
Silence. No dog. No schedule. No errands.
Not yet. Just. Me.
Hard work happens on an exhaustive plane home,
Unpacking and sifting and embracing my fragile heart.
Eyes like thick drops of oil.
Body like a sleepy kitten. Make that an older cat.
Mind swimming uphill with zest, or maybe desperation.
Tomorrow, lovely one. Tomorrow.
Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss. 🙂
FADE IN: a woman at the mic in a bar.
I just woke up one day and thought, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. I wanted to kill my supervisor, is what I wanted to do. And the only reason why I haven’t already done so is cuz I can’t drive my new car in jail.
Yup, I shop.
I’m a complete consumer and I described that as poverty deprivation.
“I need that because it’s going to do something wonderful to my life,” or “Ooooooh, that’s shiny” or “Oh, I know that’ll come in handy one day.”…. and then that shit just sits there. The Amazon Echo Dot? Don’t get it. Waste of your time and money.
What I want is travel and to do things that don’t pertain to products.
I want experiences.
I want to face fears and follow my gut.
I want the Unknown, even though it scares the Holy BeJesus outta me.
But right now
I can’t because I’m always in poverty deprivation, buying and buying and buying.
There’s a calling inside of me.
I can feel it.
But the not knowing makes me cling to what is tangible, the little things that bring little comfort right now, and eventually finds itself in my garage.
In a box. With a box, within a box.
I’m 50 years old.
Someone is pressing fast forward on my recorder, man.
I feel a calling.
A tiny voice,
And I wanna bring that to life.
I need to think outside the box.
Get out of the garage inside my head.
Step away from my computer, and outside my door.
Take some Unknown steps.
Yup, that’s me.
She doesn’t say thank you.
We took her to the moon and back, showed her the stars; live music, delicious eats, Nature, space, room to breathe, ears to listen, shoulders for padding — we have been the best hosts.
And yet.. no thanks.
Thank you for buying dinner.
Thank you for making me tea.
Thank you for driving me around.
Thank you for the company.
Thank you For. It. All.
I’m watching myself retract from her.
I’m watching myself not wanna care.
Something so simple.
Three words that make all the difference.
Why am I so attached?
Why do I need that gratification? And so immediately?
I let it go for some months.
Let this new light fester.
Out of the blue, she reached out and asked what I wanted for Christmas
To say thanks for making her first West Coast visit one of her favorite memories.
Thousands of miles above sea level
And land and civilians and traffic and highways
And byways and freeways and schools and corners shops.
How travel does good to the soul!
My eyes are tired but my heart is vibrant
And gratefully acknowledged.
Who knows what this journey brings
Life is vast and yet horrifically short
These hard facts humble me
And so, I am awake.
Conversations in foreign tongue surround us
Kitchen smells from last minute bites fill the air,
Like smoke from a magician’s show!
A few seats up, kids squeal with delight
My spirit dances with them.
Oh, how the unknown excites me!
Oh, let us dream and toast
And dream again to the wondrous surprises
That lie ahead.
All at once,
Hours of waiting and staring out into the tarmac abyss.
(apparently that gives the brain a break)
My eyes seem to drift into the thoughts and experiences the heart and brain have not processed.
Coffee (which I don’t drink) in hand
Bread (crumbs everywhere) on lap and in mouth
Peanut butter (hard to come by here) wedged between teeth.
I look around at my fellow travelers, and think about my innards.
Body rested and yet tired, all at once.
Funny how duplicitous life can be.
I yawn, my eyes like oil paint.
What does it mean to get to know a country?
Is it the food, gifts, tour guides and destinations?
Is it spending quality time with the locals?
Sitting in a park, map and camera away, and observing?
Is it – click! – social updates of Look at me! moments?
Can you say you’ve had your fill?
These worldly experiences speed past like the abruptness of an alarm.
And do you return?
Vidal, our driver, asks us as we approach the Departures zone.
Please say you have,
It’s a long way back.