There are some days I want to experience air. A big, unapologetic whiff that makes my nostrils flare and my chest visibly expand. Some days, in the constant walk-a-thon that is my job, I feel like I truly take air for granted. When I feel this way, I stop and glance around, like I’m seeing my surroundings for the first time. Then I breathe, starting slow in the pit of my stomach, making note of the flavors that enter my nasal passage. Once I reach the peak of my breath, I savor the deliciousness of the view. Then I make my way down the valley of my exhalations, careful not to fall over the edge and release too quickly.
There are some days I crave male attention. When I was sixteen, and my mother would drive us south every weekend for several hours, I would relish making eye contact with some truck driver, or a man in some Subaru. I would make believe the man was intrigued by my lovely cheekbones, in the partial shadow of the passenger seat. I would hold the gaze for as long as I dare, feeling desired, if only for a few seconds. I thought that if they couldn’t see the rest of me — just my long, black hair and intense gaze — that would make me more desirable … at least, more desirable than if my awkward body were set against the backdrop of high school lockers and bland classrooms. Sometimes, I still feel like I’m sixteen, falling in love with strangers.
the salt & the sea
There are some days I yearn for the sea. I am convinced salt water is my element. Warm, cold, turbulent, calm — doesn’t matter. If it’s salty, if it’s endless, if it hits the sand … then it is truly mine. I used to climb coconut trees, collect shells, run like a madman along the beaches with my dogs. All of this was with the sea to my side, the briny wind on my face, two giants embracing me as I played. You know how you hear the ocean in a shell when held up to your ear? Some sunrises and sunsets here, in the city I live in, truly feel like a shell is being held up to my ear.