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11/04/2006

A Dark Cloud Lifted


I don't know if I wrestled with depression yesterday (it runs in my family), or if I just had enough of the noise. I do know that as I look out this window to brown-bruised buildings interspersed with fresh, white board band-aids, an ominous weight seems to be missing from my shoulders. Good riddance.

Struggling with an aggressive mood of despair, I proclaimed to Johnny, "Take me to an early dinner, a bookstore, wherever, but I must get out of here." He complied. We raced down Westpark Tollway to pursue a unique date of sorts. First to Kiehl's for coriander shower gel (a soothing scent), and to admire the pleasant apothecary aesthetic. Clean lines, minimalist labels, hardwood floors, and antique chandeliers. Mental note #1: We need at least one chandelier in our house. Mental note #2: Go back for coriander and vanilla essence oils, coriander and vanilla lotions, an amber candle, deodorant, eye make-up remover, and cucumber toner. Mental note #3: Find out if parabens truly cause cancer or if it is paranoid hype because man oh man, coriander smells good, and I would hate to bid Kiehl's farewell.

Then, wining and dining at a gas station. Yep, a gas station. I literally loathe gas station-fast food drive-thru combinations. The two conjoined simmer a mild level of nausea in my stomach. But a few locations have changed my perspective, the common denominator = no fast food. One is an Indian food nook attached to a gas station nestled in the Sangre di Cristo mountains near Glorietta, New Mexico. Johnny drummed at that camp, and many locals promised the food was tasty and uncontaminated. We went back a second time. My brother introduced us to the other location right here in Houston: Stelio's Greek Deli attached to a gas station - the cleanest I've seen to date - at the feet of giant residential high rises on Richmond. My brother's culinary preferences have never, ever let us down - Cafe Red Onion, Americas, Baba Yaga, Goode Co. Taqueria, Amazon Grill - so on blind faith we hopped on bar stools overlooking gas pumps for gyros, tzatziki sauce, hummus, Greek salads with blocks (not crumbles) of feta cheese, and chocolate baklava. 'Twas good enough to lure us back, on a date no less, and last night they gave us complimentary French fries - the substantial thick type covered in sea salt and pepper - putting McDonald's to rightful shame.

Next on the date menu was to get lost in a mega-bookstore; we chose Borders, a slice of nostalgia. Johnny passed an important test on one of our early dates at this very Borders - we did coffee and he purchased for me a Jesus night light AND Creed or Chaos by Dorothy L. Sayers. Last night I swooned when he gave the OK to purchase McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #13 which I found as we browsed the Graphic Novels section. He perused super heroes and the magnificent art of Alex Ross, and I leafed through literary graphic novels along the lines of Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and Maus by Art Spiegelman, both now on my favorites list. Johnny wandered to Science Fiction, I to Literature. We both slowly climbed the impressive staircase for cappuccinos, walked over to DVDs where Johnny remained, and I ventured to Art/Architecture admiring an Audrey Hepburn book along the way. We glanced at the pathetic Religion section, he walked over to Computers, and I plopped down in a black armchair jotting sundry notes in my Moleskine.

Strangely fatigued, we drove back home, played with the cats, and fell into bed. Those simple, relaxing adventures restored me and as I slept, unbeknownst to me, God pulled a grace-woven blanket up to my chin. I rolled out of bed with last night's mascara leaving a smudged eyeliner effect, pulled on an old brown jacket, and drove to downtown Katy to pick up milk - coffee in hand, windows rolled down, my long hair wind-dancing. I approved of old Katy with quaint storefronts and grain mills. I popped various Paste samplers into the CD player: Amy Millan, Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint, My Brightest Diamond, Beth Orton, My Morning Jacket, Broken Social Scene. I arrived home and wanted to go to the gym? Let's go! Neko Case poured into my ears as I watched two women run around the track. Music on the brain, I remembered that Sufjan Stevens and Calexico will be on Austin City Limits tonight, a telegenic antidepressant.

Even a good mail day. Our friend Allison has an essay in the new Gettysburg Review, arriving in a large manila envelope. After a coriander shower and laundry set to tumble, I sipped ginger-chamomile tea and read her words. Beautiful writing that pushed dark clouds further away, reminding me to look up, high, in and past this clean-swept Saturday sky. Grab what is good and true, write it down. Remember? Mundane does not always equal monotony. Simple days may also be exuberant. My mistakes do not define me. The unexpected will come, God is not silent. Pray. Laugh at McSweeney's food reviews. Read. Kiss warm, pink kitten tummies. When darkness next descends, flee the house again, take a walk in the sunset, ripe with gold, feel the Holy Ghost-haunted breeze. Above us is not only sky. Peek through pinholes now, and oh my, wait and see.

2 comments:

Hotwire said...

nothing like (for me) 4 to 5 hours in a bookstore to get your head back on straight. glad i'm not the only one!

kierstin said...

i love this post!...some of your best writing yet (in my opinion)...and a vivid picture of your life.