Philadelphia, Mimosas in the Morning and A’s Perspective on Most Things
August 12, 2012 § Leave a Comment
A’s changing my perspective on most things.
I knew she would.
I thought a certain amount of affection was “normal,” and that it was virtuous to be task oriented, above all things. I’ve always been sure it was how much you got done that counted, not how you did it. I had this perception about the importance of “hurrying” – that if we can just get to the next thing, we’re doing well.
A lives in the process. It’s important that there’s connection in the process, and that there’s autonomy in the process. So, there’s days we can’t move forward without a hug and there’s days we’ve got to take twice as long to get dressed because “Duh do it!” and I sit with my coffee and watch while she pulls on her pants backwards, gets the giggles at herself, takes them off – tells me off for trying to help – “No! Duh. Duh do,” and I wait while first one chubby legs goes in, and then the other. She’s clapping shirtless in her pants, and she’s asking for a purple shirt to wear, even though I’m already holding blue.
More important than the actual color is that shes the one picking it, and I’m not sure there’s anything wrong with that.
We had this run in at a Thai restaurant recently – she’d hurt her hand, and I knew it wasn’t that bad, but she was dead set on getting a hug and she wasn’t moving forward without it. I wanted her to shake it off, but she just kept right on wrapping her arms around herself and yelling at me that I needed to hold her.
When I pulled her out of her chair, I realized she was the one holding me.
She’s got this thing about the days she can tell I’m down. She feels it, and she climbs up and straddles my legs and gets my face in her palms. Her fingers spread out and she shows me her bottom teeth and pops her eyes out big. Then she smiles and waves her arms in big circles, and she tells me I’m beautiful. Her arms keep going around in big swoops as if she was following some kind of imaginary rainbow and she slowly, insistently says it to me twice – “YOU. SO. BEEEAUTIFUL.”
I tell her she’s beautiful, too.
She nods. “DUH. BEEEAUTIFUL.”
I thought about her this weekend. The first year in a city is always lonely. You’ve got a handful of acquaintances and only one, maybe two, you consider real friends. I jumped at the chance to go out with a group I’d met a few weeks before, and ended up dancing with someone who was in town for the weekend from Philadelphia visiting friends. He came skating up on this long board the next morning to meet me on the street. I’d gone home with him for a while the night before and sat up late with his friends playing Full Crate and Mar and Moon Boots on Spotify while they laid on the couch and told me about kite boarding.
“I can dig this music,” he’d told me.
I caught a taxi around three while he stood in the street and waved.
He’d wanted my number. He’d wanted to do brunch.
By the time we met up at noon, I’d had two Skype meetings and three cups of coffee. I’d tried to push it out further – told him I had yoga class.
“You can skip it once!?” he’d texted back.
I wanted to tell him I had four more undone tasks in my iCal and shouldn’t come after all until I looked at A, smiling in her chair with peanut butter on her face.
She put her sandwich down to clap at me and smile.
“Hi Laleeeee!” she yelled.
There’s connection in the process.
I showed up a half hour later.
He’d said “date,” but what he really meant was, “come be around for a day.”
He’d said “brunch,” but what he’d really meant was, “come eat with my friends.”
I was laid out straight on a queen bed an hour later. I was on the right, near the fan, with three men in t-shirts and basketball shorts laying to my left staring at the ceiling and trading stories in the only cool room in the apartment.
I’m the new girl. They’re laughing about teachers they had. We’re all lounging barefoot and naming our favorite book series, drinking Brut champagne out of plastic cups and comparing soccer positions. I get a fist pound for playing right midfielder in high school.
“I liked high school,” he says, to my left. “Especially senior year. I mean, that shit was fun.”
I’m the new girl who didn’t like high school.
“I hated high school,” I say. “I was upstate New York. People were crazy. At least I thought they were all crazy.”
He puts his arm behind my head and pulls me into the crook of his shoulder.
“Yeah? More OJ?”
He fell asleep a few hours later, and I left half buzzed and in search of iced coffee. I turned my ipod up and walked six blocks to this place on Garden Street where the same waitress is always working, and my iced mocha is always lukewarm.
Ezra Yuzer, a 41-year-old Istanbul native, runs the place. She shouted my order to the back of the room. The Saturday slow putz I’d caught was going around. She was tracing the prices on her register with a ball point pen, and I sat down to wait and stare and simmer in my connection high – this slow feeling of joy was welling up in me after my day. Those plastic cups and barefoot conversations had touched places in me that had been aching in a dull kind of constant way for a while.
I worked late and he left early.
I felt a lump in my throat, mostly cause I wanted another day of sitting around feeling like I was part of something. But the high was still there – that slow, present feeling of human connection. I was warm from it.
I was warm inside, and A was bent on pink pants today.
She got her leg stuck when I was pulling her out of the car to go to lunch and started screaming. She had tears running down her face in three seconds flat, and I was apologizing all over myself by the time I had her in my arms.
She shook her head and pointed – “Duh! Leg.”
I nodded. “I know baby, I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
She wrapped herself around me while I carried her down the street.
When sat down together in Hi-So Thai, she told me she wanted her own chair.
After I put her down, I realized she had been the one holding me.