My favorite spot in my home is at the head of the white kitchen table. You sit down and look out the window and you remember. You remember everything. Do it at sunset and you remember everything magical. At first glance all you see is the gray roof with skylights built into it giving natural light to my neighbors.
I remember this roof caused controversy between my father and their father. Adding on to their house for their growing family was blocking our view. The dispute eventually broke away, along with our relationship with our neighbors. We continue to say our friendly hellos.
Look passed the gray roof with skylights that caused controversy and you see staggering palm trees
and passed those the ocean. Depending on the day, it can be scattered with sailboats, scoured by a single tugboat going to save a tanker, engulfed by a pod of dolphins or a pack of whales. It can be still, reflecting the light, peaceful. However when the palm trees lean, it becomes dark and rigorous with whitecaps defining its perilous nature.
This window has become definitive of my home. When I describe my house to people, it is the first view I mention.
In the mornings I read the book that I have deemed appropriate for that moment in my life facing the window eating my toast and drinking my coffee. Right now it is a novel about a group of young people coming to terms with reality as opposed to their idealistic, naïve dreams.
On mornings of travel this table has a beige canvas bag filled with trailmix and the LA Times crossword puzzle and a couple of books. Two weeks ago, the morning we were driving for 6 hours, the table also had my mother’s cheetah print cosmetic bag. We all used it. It was Mamma’s therefore it was everybody’s. Along with her Carmex and lotion and gum.
We were going to a wedding. The next evening that beautiful evening as the sun was setting and the wind blew my cousin’s veil in the wrong direction, they got married. They both stood facing one another. Giggling from what I would guess was disbelief. Forever.
After 2 Sierra Nevadas and a Corona we danced. I was generous with my words, realizing that I had to be good to those I loved.
My uncle approached me.
“Do you know how to Waltz?” He asked this casually.
“No” I replied unsure .
He put out his hand and taught me. His right hand with his class ring clasped to mine and his left with his wedding ring in the middle of my back. He stood up straight. I focused on our feet. I don’t remember what he taught me.
“I’m going to cry.” I told him tipsy and too happy for words.
He laughed “Why?”
I just laughed and looked back at our feet. I didn’t know why.
As the song ended he let go of me. “Go tell your dad he needs to learn how to Waltz for the day that you get married.”
I did. We all danced more. Some of us had rhythm some of us heard a different beat. None of us cared. The venue closed but we weren’t finished. In a frantic search for sober adults we found drivers and cars to take us to a dance club. The ride was full of stories from my two cousins who had grown up, and my two uncles who had grown happy. My window was down, unable to go up, so I stuck my hand out in the chilled air. My drunken senses were shocked and excited. I tuned out the conversation for a moment and focused on the night. What a fucking good night.
At the dance club I took shots with my grown cousins and danced with my genuine family. We jumped and wriggled and laughed and yelled.
My dad and I scarfed the last of our McDonalds French fries in the lobby of the hotel before we joined my mom and sister in our 2 shared queen size beds in the young hours of the day. Those hours normally lost between night and morning.
The next morning hung over and groggy and with a voice that was barely heard but so content my dad said to my sister and I “I’m so happy we can enjoy our time together as adults.” He was referring to the dancing and drinking and late night McDonalds. It felt more like young adults but I agreed.
And I went to get us all a cup of coffee to help cure our throbbing heads and tired eyes.