Tag: love

Thinking About You, Walking.

When I left my house that Monday night, my mother asked where I was going but I shut the door and the brass lock clinked into place without an answer. I didn’t know I would walk to you. I took the roundabout way, three miles of dirty Brooklyn blocks spent looking down at my scuffed leather shoes, stepping over the old gum on the sidewalks withered into black blobs. The streetlights made yellow spots on the murky Gowanus, and I crossed over to the other (your) side of the slope. Few people were outside, and I could hear the rustle of fallen tree leaves and the whirring hum of speeding cars on Third Avenue. I rounded the corner past the looming Armory and shoved my hands deeper into my pockets, feeling the dollar and twenty-seven cents sifting through my fingers in a clattering of pennies and dimes. The deli near your house had blinking neon lights, red-lined cigarettes and bitter soda and I stopped in to buy a pack of mint gum. I popped one out and started crushing it between my teeth, dropping the wrapper down a storm-drain. As I walked by Seventeenth (your) Street I imagined you eating steak and potatoes like your mom made for me when I came over for dinner for the first time a few weeks ago, because it didn’t seem right to eat greasy pizza after spending hours in the abandoned paths of Prospect Park, leaping over puddles and knocking on the doors of abandoned potting-sheds. I decided to wait for you on the bridge you call romantic, peering through the metal diamonds into the distance, fixing my eyes on the plastic bags blowing across the highway until your hair caught the streetlight and (inhale) I turned to face you and you stopped a foot short of me. Are you okay. I pushed the gum to the other side of my mouth. Yeah. Are you okay. Let’s walk. We started unraveling the route I took to get there, passing the wannabe French café we once drank burnt coffee in on a Sunday afternoon prolonging our homework, and the rolling hill of Third Street we once stumbled up after I drank too much and you took hold of my shoulder. I took you to my version of romantic and we gazed at a naked Aphrodite on the water. Your own twinkling eyes blinded mine as I tried to read your face like a map. The streetlights played games in your hair and your Roman nose was in profile and your brows furrowed a bit in the center and I could see the blond wisps of hair on your chin that escaped your morning razor. When you turned to face me I whipped my head back around at the fountain and blinked away my secret. The gum remained dormant in my mouth, sitting on my tongue, and your own head motioned for us to walk and I felt your eyes leave my face once more. My shoes, still muddy from the dirt in the park, clicked on the cobblestone and I tried to stare at them instead of you. Are you okay. Your coat was halfway buttoned, thrown quickly over your white T-shirt after you got my message. Maybe because we didn’t have school the next day anyway. Maybe because you are the you that I know. When we hugged in front of my stoop you were shivering and I felt you inhale and pull me a tiny bit closer before you unwrapped your arms from my shoulders and gave me a nod before turning to walk down my block back to your own. The mint taste had gone from my gum and I spat it out onto the pavement, leaving another black blob for me to step over the next time I walk. Maybe then I’ll reach you.

The Perspective of Gratitude

~ Gratitude says “thank you.” Gratitude appreciates what is already the case. Gratitude doesn’t try to “get somewhere.” Gratitude doesn’t judge or express self-pity. Gratitude doesn’t take things for granted. ~

One time, a friend and I were walking to lunch in downtown Chicago. We were both philosophers, thinking big in a big city. I still remember the moment when we turned a corner and emerged out from under the shade of towering edifices and massive skyscrapers, the sunlight finally reaching our faces as we headed towards Central Park, when she told me, in a tone of disapproval, that many of us in the West were “spoiled.” And I thought, “Spoiled like the kids with the golden tickets in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (everyone except Charlie)?” Well, yes and no, because the kids that gorge themselves on chocolate rivers and frolic in the candy gardens have an abundance of resources available to them, but that’s not why they are spoiled. What my friend meant by “spoiled” was that we take what we have for granted. We have, not just an abundance of material things, but life opportunities, relationships and well-educated minds that we often overlook as if everyone had them.

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