Ra-in-Seattle now obsolete…
Find me with a jar of crunchy noodles.
Ra-in-Seattle now obsolete…
Find me with a jar of crunchy noodles.
I saw Brea on Monday, two days after we said our final goodbyes. It was Saturday night, after Palomino’s happy hour dinner with Grace and Julianna. We parted on the corner of 4th and Pine. She hugged me for the last time and told me she was glad to have known me. Then she crossed the road and disappeared down Pine. I walked slowly along 4th toward Westlake tunnel, tearing up for the first time about leaving someone I’ve given abit of my heart away to. It’s difficult like that. Not knowing whether we will ever continue to be friends in the real sense of the word. I don’t think we really ‘clicked’ in the right places, the way jigsaw puzzles fit each other around their rounded jagged edges. Yet I was drawn to her from the outset - her short blond hair, strapover bag with badges, jeans and socks, and the manner in which she spoke and laughed. But most times we spoke haltingly and sometimes awkwardly - filing up the space of silence with words that don’t necessarily matter or dig a deeper bond. I woke up in her teal painted room that one early morning and felt out of place. Like it was something alien to me, an odd feeling of being far away from comfort. Maybe it had something to do with my hangover.
I saw her from afar at Pike Place Market that Monday when I returned for the last time to buy a pair of miniature journal earrings. She was wearing green and had her usual apron on. But I didn’t know how to say goodbye the second time. So I walked away.
you were the paper on which my life’s map was drawn
the contours of my life
and the landmarks on my horizon
found their shape on you
i knew my north
by the compass
imprinted on your skin
and though i know i’ve walked this road before
it’s now strangely un-navigable
i knew where i was once
but i drew the map
We stand as strangers in the landscape
among the rocks and the dirt
and the salt from a long forgotten sea.
Holding tight to the edges of our lives
for fear of losing them to the horizon,
for fear we will no longer know where we end
and the vast unknown begins.
Holding close to what we used to be sure of
for fear that if we let go
there will be nothing
And we search ourselves for a heartbeat
prodding our souls with memory and dream
in the hope to awaken desire
and in the absence of that,
Just to know we are alive,
Just to know that we are here.
where is your home?
i was stuck for words
until i thought of you
i am so thankful
But to apprehend
The point of intersection of the timeless
With time, is an occupation for the saint -
No occupation either, but something given
And taken, in a lifetime’s death in love,
Ardour and selflessness and self-surrender.
For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost is a shaft of sunlight,
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts…
— T.S. Eliot
It’s the nicest thing to be buzzing, in the morning, and not be called an alcoholic because you’re still in school. That’s your excuse right there, even though you actually missed the sunrise because it was a gray and cloudy morning. Somehow I don’t think I’ll ever achieve the goal of going to class drunk - after chardonnay and merlot on the rooftop shaft of Portage Bay Garage overlooking Portage Bay, we headed to Portage Bay Cafe for brekkie, and Greg paid for our classic benedict. With the added ham, even though I can’t even eat it.
The more I think about leaving Terry, the more sentimental I become. Bittersweet, bittersweet. Walking down the hallway in my fluffy blue slippers, slipping into Collin’s room and stripping off his doona. He shakes his head, and for a minute I think he’s flaking out on me. But he appears, minutes later, with the same innocent sketchy smile and furry hat. I like him in ways I cannot connect the dots. He has such a likeable persona that one finds hard to dismiss. His curly locks helps too.
The way Greg goes about his words, I almost feel like he’s from Hawaii. So chilled and nonchalant about everything, except when we’re impeding on his newfound responsibilities and resolutions. These boys are so spontaneous it makes me wanna move closer to the edge and be ready for the openness and expansion that lies ahead of me, these blank days of Centrelink and job applications. I’m not ready, and I want to stay in college for a few more years yet. I’m not ready to be old and responsible to someone about my time and punctuality and work. Even intentional community and all the commitment you have to give yourself to. But where else can we flee from such things? And is chasing this like chasing the wind?
I have a penchant for tall buildings, and found out soon after that the tallest building in Seattle only cost $5 to get to the 76th floor observation deck, or just a cuppa joe at the Starbucks on the 40th floor. We got distracted by the Happy Hour menu at McCormick & Schmick, with their famous $2.95 cheeseburger and fries and $1.95 spicy chicken wings, so we never reached the top. I realised last Thursday that this is where Jack works: “It’s only fun for the first week.”
You could see into the offices of nearby buildings, cubicles after cubicles of bland office spaces. Behind us the sun was setting.
“Imagine working in those buildings… you have such a wonderful view of the sunset everyday… but you’re probably too busy to notice…”
And so it goes.
We talked about how people (disguised as us) live beyond our means so that they can afford to go on nice ‘vuh-cay-shuns’ in Hawaii and stay in a nice resort for two weeks in a year while the rest of the days are spent facing a lifeless machine so that they can afford luxuries like an automobile and a house that is left vacant all day.
She’d just returned from a three-week stint in Hawaii where she eloped with a boy who sold drugs to get by; hitchhiked around the island, camped in the woods, stole from Dole pineapple plantations and worked on a coffee farm. That’s the traveler’s luck and heart captured in 24 days - “I think I know what I want to do in my life now” - meeting free spirits, and by the way her temporary boy runs around the country, almost homeless. How his heart still expands, with his dreams never shrinking.
So he can’t afford a Mai Tai, but really — he gets the same 365-sunrise-to-sunset days, wakes up in the morning and knows what he’s leaving. Who knows? Maybe sometimes that’s enough…
Ok this seems really daunting, the first day of the 750 words March challenge, but I can do it! Jonathan is such a whiz, he started writing at 6:04 in the morning and finished some 19 minutes later. How does he do it? Last night I had a bizarre dream about going to Thai Tom or some other kind of Thai restaurant with Mummy Daddy and Rebekah and I ordered teriyaki chicken of some sort even though I wanted to eat at a Thai place. Maybe I should’ve ordered Pad Thai or Pad See Ew my favourite but I didn’t because I was feeling oily and it was as if I had just ate fried noodles for lunch. I must’ve been thinking Saturday with Jacob.
First up, I was in the toilet the other day (sometime last week) pooping, and a thought suddenly occurred to me. Aargh now I feel like pooping but I don’t want the distractions thing to come up for me. Man, for the life of me I can’t recall what it was now. But I remember making some connections, it was almost an epiphany! The other one I wanted to write about was how when I was younger and wanted to make myself cry (Rebekah wanted to learn to train herself to cry at whim like actors), I would think of Daddy or Mummy dying and me at their funeral. And to make myself cry harder I would absorb myself with those emotions. I made myself really sad that way, I think.
Well I should keep writing and not stop to think about what I want to write. Last night was Darwin’s Photo Fundraiser for his 26th birthday at a swanky bar in Capitol Hill… he’s trying to raise money for the people of Haiti, for microfinancing them. He is so ambitious and uses social media so well I’m impressed. He’s a top bloke indeed, after what he went through with the death of his brother and what not. It was a fun night, I had to say - sometimes I have my qualms about these things and feeling awkward in social situations where I don’t know many people and having to meet new people and make crap small talk that usually bores me because I can’t stir myself up to be more genuinely interested in them, especially if I don’t click well at the most superficial level at once. It’s difficult that way, but I have to learn to let the walls down and loosen up. I went with Brianna and Jack and Rachel Field, whose best friend is actually Indian Malaysian. How apt.
I ate at least 10 chicken wings, less than 15, probably 12-13? It was delicious, and I felt slightly guilty about indulging them on Sunday even though I am meant to be able to break my Lent fast. But I don’t feel too good this morning, what with the huge serving of bacon and swiss ham scramble I had for brunch after church yesterday morning. Carol always laughs at me when she sees me eating - last Thursday at c-group she said: ‘Whenever I look at you you always have food in your hands!!” She’s such a sweetie but I don’t know to what extent should I share with her. We talk alot about work and what I want to do etc but it never really goes beyond that. It makes me feel as if I’m a really boring person or something. Or maybe it’s just what people talk about when they grow up? No, that can’t be it. It must be me, boo!
So I spent a good amount of time chatting to Sam, who fascinates me the more I get to know him. I now know why he’s good at storytelling - he wanted to be a writer. He told me how there was one time during the nigh he was playing golf on the Terry rooftop and the security guard who patrols the dorms found him, picked him up and carried him back to his bed where he tucked him in. “I was really drunk”, he said. The guard knew him well though. I can just imagine little Sam, funny little Sam whom everyone must’ve been fond of. He has that quality about him. He was drinking bourbon and 7-up when we were talking, and I tried a sip and said “Yep, I like bourbon and whisky” - which I then found out was the same thing. He was surprised and said, “Wow, that’s hot. That’s unusual, girls usually like martinis where you have your vodka etc”. I’ve never been one for tequila or vodka - those were probably the first hard liquor I ever drank, so it doesn’t stick in my mind as tasty drinks. But Sam, Sam, Sam. He asks alot of questions and I would like him if he was younger, you know? I’ve never met anyone like him before. He described himself as “metropolitan” - more a city kind of guy with the nightlife and all, as opposed to his sister. He told me about his dreams to be a writer, a creative writer or a scriptwriter and how he tried for many years but nothing ever came to fruition. “But I’m not uncontented with my life”, he said. Which I thought a very positive way to put things. I have no idea how I would feel if my dreams were never fully realised.
“It’s too late now, like MMA (Mixed Martial Arts which he claims determines the ultimate athlete of strength and everything, really).”
Apparently he used to be the state champion for wrestling back in the days. He asked me what I do: sport, creative or otherwise. I sort of laughed it away and shook my head. “Aw come on Rachel! You gotta give me something to work with here.”
I think the change-the-world-one-person-at-a-time mentality kicked in, because I began to tell him about 750 words and how I’m doing it and how it’s supposed to help. Then he asked, how long have you been doing it for? To which I replied “Since yesterday!?”. He just laughed at me and shook his head. “Rachel, Rachel! The way you were talking about it I thought you’ve been doing it for a long time.”
“But I just found it yesterday!!”
It’s the first day of March, the month of my father’s birth and the month where I’m piling new challenges onto myself for inspiration. I’m feeling dusty these days. I want to know what it feels like to have real consistency in my life, to learn the rigours of discipline and see beauty in the mundane.
750 words everyday, and a photo a day at 9:24pm. An arbitrary time, but incidentally my sister’s birthday. She’s in New Zealand now and I miss her more so. Even though the distance between the waters are shorter.
(Inspiration courtesy of eight-thirty-six).
Sure, everything falls apart. Love is like that, too. Even family is like that. But I’d like to quote Mr. Mitch Hedberg, if I may: “A girl asked me if I drink red wine. I said yes and she asked, ‘But doesn’t it give you a headache?’ And I said, ‘Sure… EVENTUALLY.’”. Pause for effect. “‘But the first and the middle parts are amazing.’”
Everything falls apart, and it fucking sucks and we’re all going to be in those wooden boxes eventually. Pause for effect. But the first and the middle parts are amazing!
- Joey Comeau
On the second day of Lent,
I woke up and regretted missing Quest’s Ash Wednesday morning service. The night before I planned my bus route: 6:21am from Campus Pkwy Bay 4, 20 minutes to Interbay, 9 minutes walk to church. Return route: reverse. My alarm rang twice, thrice. Groggy-eyed, it still looked dark outside. Bizarrely, I thought of the dangers of Mexico City and fell back to sleep.
This is the first year I’ve had anything to do with Lent, apart from hearing of the tradition from a distance, a “Catholic” thing we “Christians” don’t observe. I never heard about it growing up in church. But I’m finding my concept of what it means to follow Christ crumbling as the days pass.
Funnily enough, I debated what to give up this Lent season with Jon and Bridget - friends who don’t even believe in a God, any God.
Debate: Sweets? Too easy. Meat? Too hard. Unhealthy food? Too hard. Lunch? Too hard. Alcohol? TOO HARD. Fried food? But my American burgers and fries??!! Wendy’s 99c chicken nuggets!!!??
Jon: “Why don’t you just NOT do it? Since you find it either too hard or easy. Just pick something really specific and give up carbonated drinks or something…”
I think Ash Wednesday felt more like Fat Tuesday to me - I have a fine pot belly now since being on this land, and Village Sushi’s delicious but overpriced Hanabi Roll wasn’t sufficient for my dinner. I ate Bridget’s leftover pasta, drank Oregon Chai, munched on ‘cherries’ and ‘candy’, then badgered Felipe to bring some Top Ramen noodles for us.
I did my laundry this morning and decided I would skip the meat, go vegetarian, give those french fries and fried foods a miss… and suffer. Then I returned to my room and read about how Lent isn’t really about self-denial, but transformation.. who am I becoming? How is He changing me? And what clings to me like Glad wrap? This excess food I’ve been gorging on… America, you will be the obesity of me…
“My” sandwich, at 1101 our dorm cafe. Unfortunately it wasn’t as delish as it looks. Too dry, but I sure hope it doesn’t reflect my calibre.
Four Five things:
- I took the Link Light Rail to SeaTac yesterday morning. We sat facing her luggage, but I kept turning around to watch Seattle pass us by. It felt a different world from the Seattle I know and live in. I told Merve, “It’s like me living on the east side in Melbourne and only ever going to the West side less than ten times. Perhaps five?”
- She probably didn’t understand what I was trying to say. But it was something about how each city wants to sell us a more sanitised version of itself, somewhere where the pain of its people are not realised on the surface. It’s a distance we’ve created. We don’t ever need to go to the other side.
- I remember the America I want to know and feel.
- It started raining when I emerged from the airport. Funny how we want the weather to reflect our insides. So what? It wasn’t discordant, but it didn’t feel like harmony.
- I sat backwards on the way home
her printer in my hand
watching the same scenes go by in reverse,
would sometimes work that way.