Today I woke up early–six or so–and lay in bed besides M’s quiet breathing until my mind grew restless. Not wanting to disturb him (here we have only a one-room loft; though it’s a beautiful place, with high ceilings and exposed brick walls, it’s small enough that self-awareness for either of us now necessarily embraces two), I found a set of headphones, attached them to the laughably small chip of an mp3 player, and indulged in a few downloaded radio interviews, dreamily losing myself in the stories and voices of others until the qualmless sun rose high enough to rouse my sleeping lover, and I traded my first mental distraction for a far more effective–and full-bodied–one.
After a hasty shower came the second breakfast of the day. Perched on my usual barstool in the kitchen, I peeled a mango and spooned out generous servings of thick Greek yogurt and ate both (methodically, but taking pleasure in each measured bite–even today I find myself strangely prone to ritual around food) as the oatmeal cooked, then cooled.
M walked down to a local cafe to order us both our usual coffees while I dried my hair and finished dressing (tailored white shirt; charcoal wool slacks with silk lining; black city boots with too much of a heel; hip-length camel trench coat). I locked up and walked the two short blocks to meet him. It was sunny out, and cold; my coffee, still warm, was waiting.
From there M left on a business errand and I headed back home to catch up on our email and phone messages. I answered only the more pressing–there was one waiting with good news about another set of tenants; my sister had written; there was news from a few schools; two e-bills needed to be paid–but took comfort in each minor necessity. I checked the ferry schedule for a trip we we’d planned to make that afternoon (picking up an eBay purchase on the island), called M to confirm the time, and an hour later met him by the pier.
The ride over, I learned, took another hour. I’d brought a book and after a few minutes on the prow of the boat I grew chilled and retreated inside to read. A hasty exchange on the far side, and we were left to await the return trip–a long wait, I found, as the next one wasn’t scheduled until the evening. Carless but unable to wander due to the monstrous piece of equipment we’d gone there to retrieve, we sat by the shore and talked while the gulls arced overhead and the colors of the afternoon sank to saturate the sea. I timed my breathing with the hushing of the waves until it seemed the opposite were true, and that instead the ocean itself was sighing for me.
By the time the ferry arrived I was ready again to lose myself, again, in the story that had carried me over. (It was Franzen’s Freedom, a work I’m finding both unpleasant and enjoyable, sort of the literary equivalent of mediocre sex with an attractive conquest. I’ll finish it, though. Too late to stop now.) I curled up in a booth with my book, back against M’s own warm and solid back, until the boat slowed and the tale of our disembarking proved more interesting.
It was dark by the time we reached the mainland. I’d gone shopping at the local Asian market the day before and we had sea bass steaks waiting in the refrigerator; fifteen minutes later and a dinner of fish (with preserved lemons and kale and an abundance of mushrooms in a light sake-based sauce) was done.
I cleaned up afterward while M used the opportunity to test of one of the more frightful blades of his Dremel on two unbroken geodes plucked from a recent store. The result was less gratifying than it was miraculous–hidden within each of the mundane stones is a glittering universe.
As I write this, they are sitting beside me; the amazement is still fresh in my mind.