During my breaks I sit under a tree in front of a library. It’s an old tree. Dramatic. It sits to the far right of the grassy area. The roots jut out from the dirt creating a perfect chair. It doesn’t have any leaves on it right now. When I look up at the branches it reminds me of an inverted skeleton supporting the pale flesh of the sky. Four peacocks frequent this grassy knoll. I grew up with peacocks in my suburb of Los Angeles. Somehow, they feel more forced now. Right now I read Henry Miller. He teaches me how to forget the bullshit. Focus on the bare minimum, what keeps you getting up in the morning.
People stop acting when they talk about the ones they love. There are no scripts. You can hear it in their voices. They begin to talk very quickly so that they can fit more in because the more they say the more they feel. When they talk about these people they are more like themselves.
The people who own the market next door see me as I walk back. The husband says, “Hello Beautiful new girl.” I am happy I ran into him.
I walk into the restaurant.
Customers in their designer wardrobe and lack of sympathy written in their eyes. The espresso machine is tired. The steamers and brewers make noise. Lattes. Cappuccinos. Macchiatos. Arnold Palmers. Iced Teas. Lemonades. I am moving fast. My cheeks flushed. I apologize often. Plates clatter. Napkins fall. The cook rings the bell faster than I can walk. Requests. Complaints. Moist rags writhe on the tables. New papers placed neatly.
Can I get more napkins? Could you clear my table? What does your tattoo say? You have flowers in the Kitchen?! How much is the flowerless chocolate cake? Could you please hurry? My child has basketball in half an hour.
Every day after work, I’m quitting. I’m leaving. I’m going anywhere. I’m going everywhere. Henry Miller how did you live in Paris with nothing?
The ice juts from the water creating natural sculptural masterpieces. I walk far in front of my three new companions. They speak to each other in French. Smash rocks against the frozen surface of the lagoon. I am grateful of their company, but silence is more fitting here than talking and destroying. Mountains surround this art. The colors are white and blue and black. The moon is up in the background. But the sun shines bright from the other direction. We are on a different planet. How can something so natural, look so artificial? We walk to one end of the lagoon. For a couple minutes I admire unaccompanied.
“I did it.” I whisper to myself.