On the bus, I listened in on a conversation between a man with a cane and a woman with red lipstick. They had Melrose Park in common but seemed like strangers otherwise. “Melrose Park didn’t expect me. They didn’t know what to do with a half-Black, half-Filipino kid. Walter White, go home. Stop playing basketball by yourself until midnight.” He introduced his Italian friends to sushi, he said. When he said Walter White, of course.
I know very little about the Chicago suburbs. I know that Oak Park is just over there, and I’ve gone to Arlington Heights to visit a friend and her then-new husband. There’s Naperville, Yorkville, Oswego, Aurora, places I’ve gone to because of Stefan’s family. I know the places I dislike (almost all of them) and I know the ones with an Ikea or Mitsuwa or good flea markets. I work in a suburb that’s barely a suburb, everyone says, but is still beyond me. I take walks during lunch. The sidewalks dip in and out, appear and reappear. I think about being a teenager.
When I didn’t go straight to college, my mom got a cat. I slept on the floor in the kitchen and cradled the cat until it felt comfortable. The cat turned out mean and hisses and fights. The house is still in the suburbs, and I think about that house a lot. I look at Redfin and fantasize about not having student debt, about buying an apartment so I feel like I am here for longer. I think about Voldemort, about the room we sat in while we waited for the vet. I see him in the other two cats now. They wrestle more and spoon more.
I like the golden shock of leaves turned mush then ice lately. I don’t have appropriate shoes. I overdrafted my checking account for the second time in my life. I am in all of these book clubs. Well, two. I feel like I am writing a letter.
27 Nov 2013 / 9 notes
Instead of helping Amy, because ice, laziness, my own home, I made spaghetti and sauce the way my mom makes it. It was a treat, the way McDonalds was a treat as a kid. Mounds of steamy noodles in plastic baskets, bowls and chopsticks and forks, all the cousins around.
I bought Black Earth Meats’s ground beef from Harvest Time. A box of tomatoes I had sitting around. San Marzano, of course. Two unpeeled, large cloves of garlic, a bay leaf. A splash of fish sauce and then another splash. A pinch of sugar, salt. Two pats of butter.
Mama Long would make sauce in the pot used to make smooth, fatty, velvety oxtail broth for noodle soups. It was not the way you’re thinking of it, probably. A friend recently said something about tamarind soup base from a pouch, something I’d grown up with, don’t think twice about, sometimes scoff at using because who am I (but really, who am I). There was styrofoam ground beef, a jug of Ragu, a splash of fish sauce and then another splash. A palm of sugar, salt, MSG. Dinner turned out great but not right.
26 Nov 2013 / 5 notes
I thought Hoyt could be a priest. We would queue up and take communion from him for fun. What wafers were they? Were they cookies? I could write we took apart the wafers of wafer cookies to simulate the melt of the communion wafer. What a way to spread a cold. I could write it, and not have this part, to establish precious authority. Maybe Ritz crackers, Oreos. He’d bless the snack and we’d take the snack and go back in line for the blessing, the wafer, the practice.
I stopped saying I’m working on a poem, some stuff, writing, because it is just holding two or three words together until something else shows up to horn itself in. I stare out my work window. I close my eyes. I staple paper together. I let the umbrella down on the bus floor between my ankles and rainwater pools.
We went to St. Thomas of Aquinas together. Then I went to St. Paul’s. I’m named after St. Monica’s School and Rec Center because my mom lived close to it, saw it every day, thought the name pretty. I was baptized at 6. The marble cold water. I felt too big, too late. I was tall and already started feeling fat, scribbling notes to myself, reminders of unhappiness. I would own my first and only Barbie within the year. I would resent my sister for taking it out of the box.
23 Sep 2013 / 7 notes
That banana slug! Kyle moved to California and is doing a daily comic with brushes ooo. I am so dang proud of my friends. ^___^
I feel conflicted. That’s a pretty standard thing to say, write, email isn’t it? I should call my dad because it’s his birthday. The task would be easier if there were any sort of relationship outside of Philly sports, him reassuring me that he knows people here, everywhere. just in case, whatever that means, and if he owned a phone.
6 Aug 2013 / 6 notes