June 26, 2014 § Leave a comment
I hear people complain all the time about the Valley and living here and how awful it is, and it always drives me nuts, and I have to stop myself from immediately reiterating Rose’s Condensed Bullet Point List of Why Complaining About Your Hometown Makes You Sound Like a Jerk. (I’ve been working on this thing for years.) But I just realized the number one reason why it bothers me so much, and that reason wasn’t even on the list. Until now.
Look around you, guys, and wake up! Wake up to the fact that when you live here in NEPA, you are never more than about a 5-7 minute drive away from the nearest purveyor of ice cream. This is fantastic. I don’t think everyone understands what a gift they’ve been given. I mean seriously, people. Stop where you are right now and think of the closest ice cream place. Is it within ten minutes? I would guarantee it. Can you walk there? Most likely. You could absolutely ride a bike. And I’m not just talking about a Turkey Hill or a Weis (although Turkey Hill ice cream is phenomenal, especially the fudge ripple). I’m talking a genuine small-town ice cream place, the kind with sprinkles always rolling around the countertop, and garishly colored lights for nighttime, and you can never go there without automatically itching your ankle with your other foot while you stand in line because chances are you’ve got some whopping mosquito bites or at least painful memories of other bites. This kind of ice cream place doesn’t take cards, cash only, and it’s super annoying but you also wouldn’t want it to change because then it would just be a DQ or something like that and not a childhood institution. Bonus points if your favorite ice cream place is within 30 yards of a large and pleasingly cool body of water. You know how I know that I’ve finally grown up? Because I’ve gone back to childhood. The cycle is complete. I used to think that a soft chocolate cone with sprinkles was the most enjoyable thing in the world. Then I turned 21 and realized it was actually a nice glass of white wine. But now? I’m back to soft chocolate. And I’m totally fine with that.
June 19, 2014 § Leave a comment
Out of all the hundred and one ways in which the past four months have been awful, the worst are the summer Sundays. I wonder if I would have had the strength or courage to break up with Danny if I had known these days were coming. That the simple act of driving in my car with the windows down and my hand out in the pure flowing poetry of summer air would hurt this badly, like when you gulp water and it’s so cold it makes your teeth ache and you can feel it all the way down into your gut. These should be the halcyon days: golden and blue skies, the fragrance of pine rising like incense as I drive through the woods, dusk lingering long past eight, but instead I only feel bruised, and nothing will settle inside my chest. I can’t pray in my car now because when I pray, I can only ask why. I hate that all my favorite music reminds me of him and just makes me cry.
Heartbreak won’t kill me, but I think if it did, it would do it softly, on a humid Sunday evening, when it knows I should be in his backyard with the dog, cool emerald grass under my bare feet, a sweating cocktail glass leaving rings on the patio table. Instead, it creeps after me and finds me curled up on the couch at my home. I am restlessly reading, watching X Files, talking with my siblings, trying to make a life without the back roads to Red Barn and Sunday suppers and Blue Ribbon ice cream. Memories fill the room suddenly, tiny fragile things, butterfly wings unfolding, thin as gossamer and colored like diamonds. I used to be the keeper of the butterflies. Now they are uncontrolled, landing on my hands and shoulders, and for a moment I cannot breathe.
Then my father walks into the room and scatters them on the air, the grim specter of heartbreak chased away by his familiar face. I am no longer a memory keeper, just a sorrowful daughter, a reader with a loving father. Summer Sundays will get easier. I am not sure I’m stronger, but I think I am becoming wiser.
June 3, 2014 § Leave a comment
“Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate;
And though I oft have passed them by,
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”
I was reading the Lord of the Rings last night. That’s all!