It was the garlic powder that did me in. It’s always the little things, simple, pungent tastes and silent brushes of skin that push us over the edge; how they gently but swiftly make thin sensitive places so saturated with emotion. I slumped in the kitchen and stared down the generic red and white canister, which had always proudly, or perhaps humbly, declared its submission to my mom’s forgetfulness and five kids’ culinary whims by means of yellow, chunky, old, fading once-vegetable and its endlessly lidless state. I remember it at one time having a weak saran wrap covering.. like me, it accepted no mockery. I clutched the container and cried. I grieved for an end to a family, whole and photographable at one place, for a sharp decline of comfort. I cried because there was nothing gingerly acquiescent about how I was sprinkled with a sudden realization of what it means to start over. Because we, the lopsided three of us, had covered the microwave, the fridge, the lack of TV (thankfully). The coordinating bedspreads, the dissection of ownership of cleaning supplies, even the possibility of a hanging disco ball (I secretly think each of us wondered if the other two were crazy). I had sold layers of worn clothing to buy luggage, hangers, and a shoe rack—thankfully I had the foresight not to sell all my clothes. The tickets to New York were bought, two round-trip, for my dad and brother--the next to take flight--and one solitary catapult of a slip of paper, for me. But I had yet to imagine the strange land of subways and street carts as having a home for me. A home, a special place where you can scratch your butt and always find the spices in the same, nearly worn down little niches. A place where we are alone but not lonely; an elusive and private sanctuary in a culture where every detail is subject to judgement and Snookis sell their soul. Among everything that construes the City that Never Sleeps, would I find a room peaceful enough to quietly doze off? I am not one to confuse rare silence with tranquility, or a good time with a loving soul. There would be no garlic powder waiting on a shelf. I will tell everyone my name again and memorize a temporary address. The spice rack will have to wait.
Going is Leaving
September 5, 2010