I knew my day was headed downhill when I got the email. She had obviously grown up and was in the process of becoming famous and who can blame her. Before, when she wrote me, it made me want more from myself, challenged me to be better, to make me a better woman. One year, she had gone back to the country where her parents were born on a roots type of trip, one she did often, and she returned with stories about her grandmother, her aunts all the people who loved earthworms and forested mountainsides and growing small plants and weeding. They all seemed like good people, the people who she was from. They made her whole and when she brought the story back we talked together about wholeness, about the men we were living with, about the dreams we'd whispered to each other in high school. That year we had reconnected. She said my multicolored apartment was beautiful, she seemed to envy something about me carving out a space in our town. The slight tinge of envy in her voice made me feel better about my choices in life. It had been ten years since we met. We were those girls no one talked to or cared about, the ones who discovered their rebellion in black nail polish and Converse sneakers. In her email, she talked about London, riding the Tube, about her shock and delight at carousing with famous people and writers who would change my life if I had just ten minutes with. While she was doing that, I was surviving a shitty week; I got drunk more than was recommendable for my already damaged stomach, ended up in bed with a guy I'd sworn I'd never sleep with. Everything seemed to smell like mold all week no matter where I went to. All my sentences end with hanging prepositions. In the email, all her sentences ended perfectly, independent and subordinate clauses hung together like Christmas lights on the tree. Her life had become a Christmastime special, the kind of rags to riches story that warms hearts, and my life had become a series of regrets and mistakes, a long avenue of neon colored strip malls with crap stores selling discounted goods that look flashy and original from a distance, but on closer inspection reveal themselves to be fakes, knock-offs, bad industrial reproductions of something which had begun as a good design and ended up rotten. To be more specific, her email was a list of enviable encounters with famous people, really famous people like Nelson Mandela and Joan Didion and Spielberg. The email was actually a kind of response to a long, drunken tirade about letting go of dreams I had sent her a month before. She had never responded to it and I wondered why after so many weeks of not responding, she'd decided to respond to me at the moment she did. When she was in London, at the top of her game, when she had so much to report. I realized something at that moment. And I got up from my computer, walked across the curtained house, blinds drawn and roller shades pulled down to keep out the infernal summer heat, through the midafternoon shade to the refrigerator and popped open a beer. The window by the kitchen table was still open a little. I'd cracked it in the morning when the air outside wasn't so overwhelmingy hot. I closed the window, pulled the blind shut, and took long sips from my beer. I had no plans for that night, no idea of where I would want to go or who I would want to see. Today seemed so much better yesterday, when it was a tomorrow full of hope.

(Foto by Abraham Palafox. See Abraham´s fotoblog here. Gracias, Abraham.)

(This is a reprint from the Catalogue of Feeling.)

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