Friday, May 23, 2008

toilet paper and donuts.

Tonight we have run out of toilet paper. I keep wandering into the bathroom, looking around and muttering to myself. I didn't realize these things actually happened. And for goodness sakes! There are two of us!

Tonight I am also feeling very lonely. I surprised myself on the metro today on my way to the University. I was meeting Jelani for dinner. 
I don't like riding the metro alone, because it's much more difficult to pretend that I am not looking at people sitting across from me and beside me, as well as those standing beside the doors. If worse comes to worse, however, I turn toward one of the station maps and pretend to read it. 
Today I had just slipped into a seat when a mom with three little girls in tow stepped in. The first pig-tailed girl immediately seated herself in the empty chair beside me, licking the frosting off of a very bright-green donut. The other two shuffled in and stood across from me, staring with large, sparkling eyes, at my face and my hair and probably my clothes. 
Finally, the smallest girl approached the seats and turned around to squeeze her thin frame between me and her sister. I scooted over to make room. "Gracias," her mother said. "Gracias," the little one echoed. Her accent was not very clear yet and it made me smile. 
It was strange though, the way her little voice impacted me. When she spoke that one, rounded word, I stopped breathing. I actually caught my breath and held back the immediate urge to cry. I peered down at her from the corner of my eye and smiled again- nervously. Her face was turned perfectly towards mine. She carefully bit off a sprinkle while staring into my eyes. No smile. No calculated glance at the map. She simply looked at me and then, as if suddenly remembering her glamorous tennis shoes, she turned her gaze towards those and began to bounce her feet back and forth. 
I sighed. I relaxed and forced myself to breathe, noticing the smell of frosting, which by now had filled the entire car with the scent of birthday cakes and valentine cookies. 
And suddenly, I felt happy. I felt so happy and sad all at the same time. As if I were remembering something dear, while being robbed of something precious. But what each jewel may have been, I couldn't- and still can't- place my finger on.
When my stop came, I hesitantly stood up and slowly, slowly walked to the door. I breathed in one last scent of colorful frosting. And left something of myself behind.

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