Monday, January 25, 2010

Lara’s theme

Hum it to yourself as you read. (It’s from Dr. Zhivago, at the point where he reaches his sweetie'e place, in the dead of a Siberian winter.)

I get off the bus halfway home, because I have a shopping list for Whole Foods. Mostly produce, and also a rotisserie chicken – a cheater’s fast way to make homemade chicken soup.

Wow. Two bag’s worth. Nothing fits in the backpack – too many textbooks there.

It’s cold. I hadn’t noticed that earlier, but now that I am walking into the evening wind, I feel the slap, right in the face. My eyes start to tear. Could it be that little ice particles are forming around the wet lashes? It feels awfully brittle up there...

I move forward.

Past one gas station, another. I have my camera, but I have no interest in stopping. And for what, anyway? So that you can see that I have both a Shell and a Mobil within walking distance of home?

I walk by Mr. Monetti’s tailor shop. I like passing his store. You always see either Mr. or Mrs. Monetti at the machines, repairing items of clothing that basically don’t look well on us. We give them to the Monettis in the hope that suddenly a transformation will take place and we’ll look fabulous. And if anyone can do it, they can, for the Monettis themselves look fabulous: he always wears pressed slacks and a pressed shirt, she looks like she is on her way to an opening night at the opera.

I hesitate. If I put my bags down, I may take out my camera and get a bad photo with reflections of traffic in their windows. Not worth it. I take a step forward. Oh-oh. The handle on the grocery bag tears. And now it’s like the old days: carrying the bags as if they were two naughty toddlers, as I grind my teeth, wanting to wipe the near frozen eyelids, but not having the hands to do it.

Life is so full of small challenges.

At home, I make soup. Madame Defarge knitted, the Monettis sew, I make soup. Chicken tortilla. Without the tortillas (I forgot to buy some).