Until I was about eight, I thought my grandpa was a Spaniard. This may have had something to do with him looking a lot like Antonio Banderas in Zorro, but probably had more to do with the fact that I couldn’t understand a single fucking word he said. And like most kids who grow up in Florida, the only other language you are even a little bit aware of was Spanish. Meaning: that when he talked and I couldn’t understand him, I thought he was speaking Spanish.
We aren’t ready. When Sebastian holds the door, and the sky blinks into blackness, we aren’t ready. When everyone is left standing in the neon glare of street lamps, we aren’t ready. And when those lights inevitably wink out, too? Well, we aren’t ready for that either.
Since the rousing success of Fonduesdays in December, many of us here in the Bond House have agreed to be a part of other challenges and month-long themes. While Vegan February was left up to the likes of Lark and Brennan (though the rest of us did gladly eat whatever they made), we have found other ways to engage in communal activities. March, for instance, was a speed-reading month, a skill that I was forced to learn in college and was willing to exercise in solidarity. I'll let you the secret to learning this invaluable ability: read things you truly do not care about. This month's fodder? Romance novels.
Another year has come and gone, and I have to admit that 2018 was amazing. With 2017 being such a roller coaster, the consistent joy of this past year was a relief. I found myself in this position of, for the first time in years, feeling utterly safe and comfortable--which led to this bizarre experience of being able to flourish (sort of like a house plant that's been replanted in more enriching soil).
I finally come to terms with my self-inflicted solitude over a tartlette citron (which I'm pretty sure that I'm supposed to eat with a fork, but there's none to be had, and I'm a dirty American tourist so who really cares) and five fresh manuscript pages. Both of them are so good that I say, "Fuck you" out loud. No one is around to be embarrassed. Something about that is freeing. And when I inevitably get lost without my GPS and wind up stomping up and down an avenue I can't pronounce with no one to witness both my failure and my triumph? There's something freeing about that, too.
My father always told me to look to the stars to find my way home. That was true a long time ago, when he was younger, before the universe started fraying at the edges. The stars haven’t shined brightly in decades. Even if they did, I’m not sure I would know the way home, especially all the way up here. But it’s easy to pretend that I can pinpoint where Earth is out this little window, despite the fact that there is nothing but blackness and the occasional moon or bulbous orange planet that doesn’t remind me of our galaxy at all. We’re far from where we started.
There is smoke. It has grown thicker over the last hour, invading my lungs and stinging my eyes. I take another hit and begin to cough. Someone laughs, which is to be expected. With six joints circulating between the eight of us, there is a certain etiquette that is expected. The chuckles die down and leave us in silence in the cool dark of someone’s basement that is lit up with Christmas lights. I guess I don’t know where I am. I guess it doesn't matter.
Dez is not a morning person. I remind myself of the fact when I feel the urge to ruffle his hair. His snapping turtle role isn’t worth a few moments of happiness. In the end, it’s my feelings that’ll be hurt and Dez who won’t remember what he said, halfheartedly apologizing in his boxers over coffee before I go to work.
Sometimes it's hard to believe that it was only four months ago that I moved into a house with Craigslist strangers. In that time, I have 1) not been murdered and 2) been exposed to dozens of people and concepts that have helped to make me hungry for new connections. Of course, there is a sense of bittersweetness to this. Because of the transitory state of many of my roommates, it almost goes without saying that all good things must come to an end.
As a poor, naive Southerner, I thought that we might see spring and put away our snow boots by the end of February. I remember in November when people would laugh at my optimism and I thought they were jerks. March has come and gone here in the Bond House. Snow lingers on the ground, the temperature has barely cracked 50 on most days, and I'm still wearing wool.