I fix myself coffee. It’s not as strong as it should be because I am at work. I prepare it with a paper filter but I didn’t grind the beans finely enough. My morning body still takes cues from deeper established routines that I've recently changed. When I grind coffee, my hands still time the action to the coarser grind needed for a press pot, despite the fact that I now wait until I am at work for my first cup. The press pot is too messy for work. My morning brew delay is to prevent coffee from actively interfering with my breakfast iron absorption. The coarser grind doesn’t produce the surface area needed for a perfect drip-coffee, but the result still surpasses the pre-packaged drip-coffee packets my co-workers sip.
This is not my first coffee of the day. It is my second. I haven’t brewed it to get my fix, it serves a different purpose; I start with coffee so that I won't lead with the writer's cliché of the blinking cursor and the white page.
I need to write. I want to write. Needs are pushy things, they line-jump the quietly queued up wants. I’ve written about my first night in Istanbul and I’d like to continue to that narrative. I need to write about fireworks, strung lanterns, and memories.
Istanbul will be there when I finish what I need to do, although it runs the risk of fraying at the edges.
Saturday night, as I was coming back from a gig at the Russian/Egyptian restaurant in Matsudo, I heard the explosions. I was already back to my train station, walking the six minutes it takes on the single road I take from the station to dirty peach-colored flat I live in.
I knew that if I turned back to the station, I could stand on the bridge that crosses the tracks and see the fireworks. I didn’t turn back. I saw the view in my head. I’d once clicked photos of those fireworks and of the pink and white festival lanterns that line the road near festival time. Click. Send. This is where I live. Click. This is what is happening around me tonight. Click. This is my face as shot from below taking it all in. Send. Send. This is my world right now…enjoy. Sigh. I am a world away. Smile. Take joy in the things that make me smile.
This is where I am now, but in two weeks I will be far away…with you.
I continued walking through the humid night, in August 2012, as I felt August 2010 settle into my skin and dampen my clothing.
It’s how we communicated…photos, typed chat sessions, texts.
August, 2010, I was excited. I’d be visiting America soon. I’d see friends in Seattle, study dance in Las Vegas, and visit San Francisco. In SF I’d seeing friends and stay with someone I cared about but never would define my relationship clearly to (and weeks later I’d permanently damage my relationship to). In Vegas, I would meet D again. D, we’d reconnected on Facebook, having only known each other briefly 10 years before, and had quickly typed ourselves into a frenzy of expectation, excitement… love?
It was to him I sent the snapshots, the moments of my life. August, 2010, was engorged with possibility. To have that feeling return to me, as I walked home, was not unwelcome. Had August 2011 revisited me, prickling me with anxiety, D’s upcoming visit, and my deepest depression I would have wanted to shake off the memory. 2010, however, was before the earthquake, the uncertainty, my returned to life, the soon next-stepping of my relationship with D. The déjà vu of hope was not unwanted.
I don’t write much about D. I never have. I wrote of the good, when I wrote at all, mostly I was silent. I wrote of him just enough to damage my undefined relationship beyond repair. I wrote enough about what caring about him might mean for my life to excite others.
The words he wrote me, when we ended, cauterized something in me. For once there was no lingering. No continued friendship trickily navigated. Our boundaries were never redefined through clumsy moments. No reaching and retraction.
I don’t hate him. I don’t regret that I fell in love with him. I just never want to see him again.
My reflection on those days with D has happened…but most of it is undocumented. I haven’t wanted to loudly recollect and organize that which I only shared with others in shards.
Still, I had to write this, before I continued with my adventures in Istanbul. I needed to share that the familiarity of a night warm with potential comforted me. Excited me.
If D and I did one thing right for each other, it was to release the most glorious, terrifying, Kraken of dreams surpassed: It made us both believe, again, that we could be loved and love others.
And with that the need to write calms itself. It stands aside and signals to want that it can soon step up to the window.
My coffee is cold. I finish it to bring my writing to a close.