I grabbed a hoodie in case it was chilly outside and put on my Alabama baseball cap before leaving for the gym. It was beautiful today, and windy. I hear it’s cold in the South, but it’s lovely here. As I got closer to the subway, I realized it’s been days since I saw Nino Brown, my neighbor and former member of Junior Mafia. I miss talking to him. I was trying to casually peer into his house, but stopped when a car turning onto the street startled me. To play it off, I started jogging and then stopped suddenly behind a man who was descending down the subway stairs one at a time. It seemed he couldn’t bend his knees, and was having to tackle each one with a straight, stiff leg. I reached my hand toward his dirty sweatshirt to help steady him, and then drew it back when I heard voice even further away yelling for him to “Come on! Damn! You walk too slow!”
I kept hoping they wouldn’t sit in my car as the train pulled into my station. It was futile to think that. The man and the woman he was with couldn’t have walked any further up to get into the next one, and I needed to stay in the caboose. I knew where they were going even before I sat in a car with them listening to them yell. Jay Street, the stop where I exit to go to the gym, is always bustling and loud, but even more so at peak hours. It’s crawling, and I do mean crawling, with so many people, minorities with dark skin people. Mostly Black and Latino, unhealthy looking people who are too young to be walking with canes, too old to be smoking cigarettes, overweight, loud, and just rough around the edges. I’m not the wimpy snob I’m making myself out to be right now. I’m just shocked every time I go down there because I don’t understand how so many people can be underpaid, underprivileged, grouped together, and the only hope I see that it will change is a young man standing on the corner handing out flyers for a two-year technical college program. The Kingdom of Heaven promised us life abundantly, not tattoos and bootleg dvd’s. This is not life abundantly, brother. “We got Boost Mobile! T-Mobile! You’re mobile!” It’s like a blankety-blank circus down there. Literally, a circus. A man looking sickly yells, “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS! WE GOT CELL PHONES, IPHONES, IPADS!” I turned to look at him, and our eyes met. His eyes said, “Come in and buy something so I can get paid and get something to drink.” Mine countered, “Be healed. And be quiet.”
I stepped onto the treadmill determined to take out all of my frustrations on any jiggling fat. The truth is, I think I look pretty good, but a girl that I ran into recently told me that I looked very thin. And she didn’t mean it as a compliment either. It was completely bizarre. She kept doing a full body scan and asking if everything was ok. Obviously, everything is ok. Everything is more than ok because I can read a scale, and it doesn’t show any weight being lost. She’s a sweet girl, and I like her, but I’m going to remember to avoid hugging her. She felt my arms, which are always thin, and now she’s acting like I’m a starving child in Africa. And right as I was thinking about Africa, there was a breaking news story and my political correspondent crush, Christiane Amanpour, appeared on the screen. Oh Christiane, your hair looks great and you look refreshed– WHAT? They killed Gadhafi! Libya is free! At first I felt this sort of shock and happiness mixed together, but when they showed the video of him bloodied and very much a scared man with a heartbeat, I softened. I was stuck in place, my legs on either side of the treadmill as it kept whizzing by. I reminded myself that this is war. Not a physical war, although it is, but it’s a spiritual war too. It’s a war for the souls and spirits of people everyday. And whether we are winning or losing, we pray for our enemies. Pray that they will not go to their deaths blind to the Truth.
No one texted me the news, so I’m glad I went to the gym afterall. I’m fasting from most of the things that I enjoy eating at the moment, and also trying to limit my social media intake this week. I haven’t had a Little Debbie brownie in forever it seems. It leaves me feeling good, having a different sort of energy; the reward for being faithful to it is that I let myself peruse blogs like this one. (No really, look at this link!) I literally want to eat everything that I see on this page, and I want to be friends with this Kristin girl. Most of my female friends are like me, longing to be domestic and have more time to try out new recipes– I actually managed to do this twice last weekend by cooking picky-eater-Brandon dishes from the ‘Kid Friendly’ section of the Rachael Ray website!–knit scarves, grow vegetables, take the perfect mix of organic cocktails and vitamins, and cook amazing meals for large groups of their equally fabulous friends every single day of the week. And like me, they haven’t had the time to do any of those things. We’re busy independent women. We’re busy goal-oriented women. We’re women who don’t want to be sexy pop stars anymore. We want to be Susie Homemaker-with-a-Job. But that’d mean we’d have to leave the City wouldn’t it?
Why did you ever want to be Carrie Bradshaw in the first place? I detest that show, I only pretended to like it. I’m not Miranda or Charlotte…and ok, fine, I had a major Samantha phase when I didn’t know the value of my own thin-armed body, but surely we can find better women to identify ourselves with. The fashion was needed, but the rest of it has got to go. I’m not a feminist, Mr. Man. I’m actually an old-fashioned lady pretending to be modern. I think a woman should cook (we cook better), and clean (we clean better), and take care of the kids (we, um, do that better too). Perhaps I am a feminist after all. Let the woman do it all, I say. Let her have it all. Let her be everything she can be. And let her never mourn for what could have been. We are going to wake up with a new day looking us straight-on, whether we like it or not. Let her be happy about it. I had all of this figured out even before I heard that Danny was having a baby.
Danny M., the fourth in my group of middle school friends, announced that his girlfriend J is pregnant. I’m happy for them. They’ll make good parents, and they’re both excited from what I gather. I hope they get married. I hope I get to be there for the big moments, birthdays and such. I want to be the baby whisperer, and whisper little tips, little positive affirmations in its little ear.
The baby should know things like how loved it is, even by people like me, who were more alive in the daily life of its Father years ago than now. Eighth grade was so long ago. And although I don’t see him very often, he’s still one of my favorite people. He was the first boy I ever wanted to kiss. Today I can’t think of or make myself want to kiss anyone other than Brandon, but things were different years ago. Danny was a cool kid who gave me his Adidas jacket and I was a nerd who wore Keds. And now he’ll be making a new family with cute J, and they’ll have a baby who will hopefully have its mother’s eyes. The whole thing makes me feel nostalgic, and emotional, and I realize that it really is time to let go. Put away your Prince William posters, your Ked tennis shoes, and your curling iron little Jasmine. Get excited about marrying your own real-life prince, wearing heels, letting your hair be wild and un-curled, and of course, having a baby that can be friends with Danny’s. It will be like “Saved By the Bell: The New Class”.
It will be just…like…that.
Written to:– no music today; Wolf Blitzer “The Situation Room”