Geralt rode the train towards the city. The car was crowded with people on their way to work and he was forced to stand, holding tightly to the dirty plastic loop that hung down from the roof. As the train moved forward and to lurched to the right, Geralt lost his balance and pressed into the woman standing next to him. She exhaled in frustration and her breath reeked of stale cigars and garlic.
The smell reminded him of too many nights alone with Lani. Geralt inhaled deeply, finding himself repulsed, but lost in memory. Lani’s father loved cigars. He smoked them in quick succession while seated in his orange leather chair. Her mother cooked everything with large amounts of garlic, often marinating meats for days in minced cloves before cooking them. The house absorbed and clung to the two odors, melting them together into a singular entity which permeated every corner of each room. Lani was his first love. She was just 17. He imagined her face, her pale blue eyes and olive skin. He adored her too thin eyebrows that he couldn’t keep from touching. She loved listening to music in the dark while sitting on the floor of her bedroom, and would pull him down beside her, pressing her forehead into his. She would whisper sing the songs. She was only a memory now. He had not thought of her in years.
He suddenly had no desire to meet Harriet and Priscilla for breakfast. He pulled his phone from his shirt pocket, being careful not to elbow anyone in the face. With surprising skill, he one-finger-texted Harriet his regrets. She would understand. Besides, it would giver her a chance to hit on Priscilla over a cup of coffee and a Danish. She would thank him later, he was certain. He exited the train at the next stop.
Geralt had no destination in mind. He wanted to walk with his memories a bit more. The sun hung low in the eastern sky, a heavy reminder that it was still winter and that the difference between morning and mid-day was minuscule. He wrapped his scarf around his neck, zipped his coat up tight, and headed towards the small park he knew was a few blocks to the west. He wished he had a cigarette, but was instantly grateful he had quit.
A woman passed by him. She wore a long coat and mittens. A green knit hat was pulled tightly around her ears. She could be Lani’s age. She might even be the right height and weight. He decided to follow her, allowing himself to pretend he had miraculously exited the train at the perfect place and time, and thinking of Lani, had instantly come across her. It was a powerful game. As she walked ahead of him, Geralt began a conversation with her in his head. He confessed his undying affection. She melted in adoration. He couldn’t help himself. He quickened his pace.
The sunlight from a fantastically warm morning is filtering through the blinds. If I were smarter, I would stop writing these sentences and go outside. Earlier, when I took the dog out, I stood on the porch and let the unusually warm pre-Spring wind blow around me. Winter winds have a particular smell and that smell was absent. I don’t believe winter is over, but for today I am not sad that is is in hiding.
While being outside would be a better choice, in all honesty, I adore the time I spend in my office. I love sitting here at this desk, trying to write, then looking up at the books and compact discs on the shelves across from me.
The guitars that are usually partially obscuring this view are out in the great room. A friend stopped over last evening and the two of us played songs together. Some of them were actually listenable. We share different tastes in music, but seem to enjoy playing similar songs on the guitar.
He doesn’t drink coffee, which is absolutely fine with me.
I am also spending this day listening to new (to me) music. My new favorite record label is Sargent House. If I see their name on the back of a CD, I will buy it. Artists found on this label include Russian Circles, Boris, Chelsea Wolfe, Marriages, Helms Alee and Deafheaven.
While my headphones are off in this photo, I am currently listening to a fine band by the name of Bosnian Rainbows. They are a clever little bunch.
It feels like a good start to the week.
On another note, I am trying to motivate myself to write a query letter for my book. I am struggling with how best to describe what I have written. I have finished another edit and feel that it is a much stronger book now. I am excited for people to read it.
1. I am remembering why I adored The Police when I was a young teenager.
2. Buying Compact Discs makes me very happy.
3. I would collect vinyl again if I had a better place to store it.
4. I think the disc drive on my laptop is dying. Several songs I have uploaded to iTunes are incomplete or skip.
5. I watched the Documentary “Sound City” for the second time last night. If you haven’t watched it, stop what you’re doing and do so now.
6. I had a huge crush on Joan Jett when I was 14. I followed that by crushing on Stevie Nicks. That is a conundrum to me.
7. Speaking of conundrums, should I tell you that I am sorry for the way I treated you 20 years ago, or should I just let that go?
8. One of my coffee mugs gave up the ghost today. I can’t decide if this is a good thing.
9. I had a moment of over-sensitivity today. I am ashamed of it. Do better, Ryan
11. I am embarrassed to say how long it has been since I changed strings on my guitars. I am working to fix that, one guitar at at time.
12. The Black Keys are really good (or is it “The Black Keys is really good”).
13. I still want to play music with other people. I have to get over being intimidated.
14. My grandfather loved wearing American flag apparel. He wore flag hats, shirts, pins, and coats. I do not love the flag nearly that much.
15. I really need to go to Ireland this fall.
16. I read a blog post about my last trip to NYC. Of course, it made me desperate to return.
17. While I am thinking about travel, I am excited to go back to Cancun this summer.
18. I wasted much of my 20’s feeling sorry for myself. I refuse to do that with my 40’s.
19. I am terrified of sending out queries for my novel.
21. That shirt is awesome, so shh.
22. My sister looks groovy in her purple shirt, purple hair and bangs.
23. The wallpaper in my grandparents house was pretty terrible.
24. I miss that watch.
25. A second novel idea is swimming in my head. It may come out very soon.
26. I discovered I can’t read other novels when working on my own writing.
27. I am already pondering a Halloween costume.
28. I never dress up for Halloween.
29. This list seems to have patterns. I don’t like patterns.
30. I can totally rock horizontal stripes (not pictured).
It is not my secret self who walks along this road tonight. I have left pretense behind me, willing to accept the consequences. I am unaltered. I feel the same as this morning when I woke and wondered what the day might offer up to me. I did not think to find myself here, walking along suburban streets, the weight of thousands of silently sleeping lives hanging in the air over me like a cloak of desperate anticipation.
I feel the edges of night pushing away, while the center twists and spirals. If I could feel dizzy beyond this constant muddled sensation I have come to call normal, I would easily fall down, my arms and legs spread out in an exaggerated X, my mind spinning.
I wander a gravel path as it curves to the south. Three inches of black pebbles, laid on top of layers of clay and sand, shift beneath my feet . The winter waters have compressed and soaked the rocks, giving them a spongy feel beneath each step I take. A scraping sound rises from my shoes, and for a moment, an unexpected fear rises up in me. I will be discovered. They will capture me. I look around, fully expecting doors to fly open and shouts of alarm to reach my ears. “There he is, grab him. Stop him,” for I am dangerous. I prepare to run, but there is no one chasing me. They sleep, and do not understand.
I keep moving, exposed to the sensations of cold and darkness. I am not hiding. I am colorless.
In the distance, near the man-made lake, I hear the sound of Canadian Geese. One offers a low honk, followed by another. A dog barks once in a short and sharp burst at a running cat. The sounds are suddenly everywhere. It is 2 AM.