Chicago ’93: A Direct Excerpt from my Journal (re-edited a bit)

Chicago ’93: A Direct Excerpt from my Journal

posted in Facebook July 10, 2010 at 6:16pm

Monday, August 2, 1993 9am

I got back from Chicago last night. I didn’t get home till 10.   Anyway, we ended up bringing the car back a little late and charged $11 for it. I almost forgot my house key and I left toll change in the ashtray. But… here’s the recap. 

Wednesday night: drove with Kevin to the airport, got the car. I’ve never rented a car in my life so I really didn’t know what to do. So he went with me in the bus then he drove out so they wouldn’t know what we’re up to. Then I was on my way. I was a little nervous; I hadn’t driven since like New York! (I wish I got a Hard Rock tee in New York and a Planet Hollywood). But I stopped at Target and got travel size things, stopped at home, loaded up the car, failed to think to bring my journal like a dumbshit, so here I am. It’s a beautiful day out! So I accidentally opened the hood, thinking it was the trunk. I left my water in their cooler! Lessee… gotta go downtown post office and Rainbow. Pay rent. I was running late, but I got to Cheryl and Colleen’s before 10pm, and we ended up waiting till 11pm for Cheryl to get home so we could go to Haskell’s. Dana came out and now I’m not as wary about him as I was when we were conversing on the phone for a long time. I think he just wants to be friends with his girlfriend’s friends cuz he seemed to be pretty familiar with the guys. I sang When Will I Be Loved and kicked to New York, NY, and did another When I’m 64 with Prill. I kept calling her Prill the whole trip, and it was hard to call her Cheryl when we were with Mike. We got home around 12:45, but Colleen and Dana were up all night eating soup so I don’t think I got to sleep till like 2:30am. 

So we got up around 7:30 and packed, loaded up the car, and Cheryl drove to pick up Lisa. We got the wrong house first and a guy was putzing in his garage and saw us like we were part of the scenery and kept putzing till I craned my head out of the window and asked him if his house was Lisa’s address-it wasn’t and as we were turning around in his driveway and going up the road he drove past us and waved.

 
So Cheryl drove first half, then we stopped in Wisconsin for gas and Dairy Queen, even though we were stuffing our faces with junk food and Pringles between making the cassette intinerary. They were playing stuff and I was totally giving in, not saying anything cuz it wouldn’t’ve been fair if I hogged all the decision making for the music. But I totally blew up on the way back, verbalizing my opinion on Singles. Then I drove all the way into the city, we parked, and went to the train station where Lisa was meeting her fiancé, Scott. His train was supposed to come in at 6:30, and we got there about 5. (We left from her place between 8:30 and 9am) So we parked the car and went to the Sears tower and paid $6 to see a 5 minute long commercial for Chicago, then go to the top and look at the skyline. It was ok, maybe worth $2, but not $6! I didn’t use the lens thingys. They’re probably like a quarter for 30 seconds or something.
 
The city was packed with people; especially women wearing tennis shoes with their office wear. It was just like any other city, only different. It was on Lake Michigan and a river – the Hudson, I think. I think I’d really like living there. There was a train-Tram system and buses like you wouldn’t believe. Colleen was saying how the city was built and made famous by gangsters like Al Capone, Scarface, Bugsy. We noticed how old the buildings were, how a guy looked like Bill Clinton. I couldn’t believe I was there in Chicago! We went to the train station and waited and waited and finally found out his train was an hour late.  Lisa seemed depressed and anxious.  We were all singing, “isn’t it romantic” “the love train” (instead of “the Love Boat”) etc. It was sweet. The place reminded me a lot like Grand Central in NY. But it was all very suspenseful waiting for Scott. But he finally go there and they hugged; he dropped his bags. We should’ve gotten a pic; it would’ve made a neat wedding gift. So then we parted after Scott gave Cheryl directions and we found our hotel and they told us to go to Giordannos for pizza, and the Hancock for a drink. So we put them on our itinerary. Cheryl checked us into the hotel, we unpacked, and went to Bennigan’s for a drink, and talked about 70s and 80s shows and commercials the whole time. People seem to not like serving food in Chicago. DQ girl was grumpy, the hostess at Giordanno’s was. So we went back to the hotel and slept. The first night I slept with Cheryl and Colleen slept alone. 

FRIDAY: We decided to use today for sightseeing and Saturday for Six Flags, so we got up around 9ish. I didn’t take a shower cuz I took one Thursday night. I feel closer to Cheryl and Colleen. This is quite an experience. We laughed almost all the way here yesterday. So much has happened in this city; gangsters, movies. It shows in the old buildings. It kept reminding me of San José by the outdoor vendors, the craziness, the individual stores instead of malls, and busses and taxis. It reminded me of Mpls by its familiarity; same shops, banks (some), cash machines, but it reminded me of NYC by its proximity to the large body of water and the huge, many buildings.

 
Lots of pictures already. The aquarium, art institute, John Hancock building, Hard Rock Café, Planet Hollywood, and the pizza place were on our itinerary. We parked under the art institute and went there first and spent a good couple hours there. I was getting antsy cuz Cheryl and Colleen were spending a lifetime there and we didn’t get out till like 3:30pm. Colleen got an architecture book for Dana and Cheryl got a picture for herself. Then me and Colleen got cash, we changed a few bucks for the bus, then bussed up Michigan to Ohio, I think and went to the pizza place. Took more pictures. We got lost and confused looking for Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock Café, but we finally found them. We went to Hard Rock first and I got a black tee. Then we went to Planet Hollywood. It was neat; it had stars’ signatures and hand prints in cement tiles in the wall. It wasn’t nearly as neat at NYC, but the wait staff had really cute shirts, but they were $56. So I got a white tank. 

Now we were gonna bus back to the aquarium. So I thought we’d walk up to Lakeshore and bus from there, so we walk up there and it was weird, so I asked a lady at the hotel how to bus down there and she said to take it from Michigan, so we had to walk all the way back down there. I started walking that way and Cheryl and Colleen said I was walking the wrong way, that it was South (my word of course) and I said I remember passing it, but they didn’t, and were mad that I didn’t say anything when passing it cuz I guess they planned on taking Michigan when I thought it was verbalized that we’re taking Lakeshore. So I’m looking for that Walgreen’s—I saw 2 on Michigan cuz I needed a notebook—I forgot my journal. Never did get one, so I’m writing all in Mpls. So the hotel lady said # of blocks and the girls are going, “oh it’s been a LOT more than x blocks” and we don’t see Michigan. So I finally ask a security guard and he said x blocks that corroborated and the girls again: oh it’s been more than x blocks, I think he lied, blah blah. Well, it was one block ahead. So we finally hop on the damn bus and it passes like 5 Walgreen’s and 2 Woolworths and we get off by some stadium, thinking it was the aquarium and wasted time by walking around the wrong building. So we finally find it; right by Grant Park. Take pix. It’s 7:30 or 7 or something and closed. It was beautiful! People fishing, jogging, biking, blading right on Lake Michigan. Took more pix. Sat and bullshitted a while. Walked down Lakeshore, through Grant Park, took pix of Married with Children fountain. Real pretty. Took a pic of the girls and a statue surrounded by pink flowers; the film was at 5 pix and the camera rewound! So now I needed film AND a notebook. I should’ve bought that journal at the art institute. So we finally made it to the car and Cheryl “burned” and got us to the right side to take a left, but we had to go around the block to find the freeway entrance. So we got back, got some Wendy’s, took a shower and took a nap. Colleen was supposed to call her friend Steve, who was gonna escort us to the hot spots in Chicago. But we didn’t wake up till 11. So we ate munchies from the machine and watched Showtime. Went back to sleep. I slept with Colleen this time.

Saturday: We had intentions on leaving for Six Flags around 10am, but we didn’t wake up till 9am, got our free continental breakfast, and took sweet time getting ready. We didn’t’ get out of the hotel till a little past 11am. Traffic was awful. It took us 2-2 1/2 hours to get there. We weren’t parked till about 2 pm. 1:45 or something. So we were there till about 7:30 pm. We got on 3 rides. The Batman was a 2 hour line. The American Eagle was like 1 ½ hour, and the first and most eventful, the Shockwave was about 1 hour. The Shockwave was the most eventful ride. First, the line looked mega-long, so Colleen went to the bathroom and Cheryl got some ice cream. Well the line moved pretty fast up to the maze and they still weren’t there. So I sat on the maze and waited and waited. The guy was like “yah, you can’t do this again.” There was a gang of 4 guys-3 black and 1 Spanish in front of us. The Spanish guy was eyeing me eating Cheryl’s gargantuan ice cream/funnel cake/whip cream/strawberries. Then I made a killer bee comment and the Spanish guy laughed. Then they were—well mainly one that was wearing a tag on his head—being pretty gross. First he was convinced some chic was looking at him, then he’s checking out the scantily dressed girls and making comments like “whatsuname?” Then the Spanish guy asked if we were from Chicago and I said we were from Mpls and he asked about the drive and I said it was long and Cheryl asked what he said and I told her and she goes, ‘how did he know we were from Mpls?” and I go “cuz I told him.” This was when we were waiting for the front seat. Then moments later, after the black guy was really going off about if so and so from high school could slam dunk or something assinine, the Spanish guy told him we were from Mpls and another black guy from their 4-some said he knows people that live by 60th by a big cemetery, so I think they’re by Richfield, or by the airport (Fort Snelling). I thought he was gonna say the Lake-Nicollet Area. So then I had a cigarette lit and the mother f#$%er asked for a cig, and I said for a quarter and he’s like A QUARTER! So I finally said I’d give it for a nickel after haggling, then he handed me a quarter (30 cents) and I go “a tip!” That got a laugh. Then a minute later the ride guy told him to put it out. 

It was a fun ride. There was a part of the ride where a camera took pictures–good close-ups, but kinda fuzzy of everyone on the Shockwave and they sold the pictures for $5. So me and Cheryl each got one. It was pretty nuts trying to walk through the crowd. So I drove back which only took like 40 minutes or something. We showered, got Wendy’s again, and got ready to go out on the town. I wore my striped mini-tank dress from the Limited. So we went down the block to get gas and asked the taxi driver filling up where the best area was to go after asking at the Hampton front desk. So we kind of knew what area we were going. So we’re exiting onto the road to go to the highway and we had to turn left and there were no left turn signs and we couldn’t figure out why. So we’re sitting there and the guy behind us came up to our car and I thought he was gonna start pissing that we were just sitting there. So I “roll” down my window and he says he’s from MN and we look lost, so we told him we had bar hopping plans in the city and he told us pretty much the same thing the taxi driver said. Then he said he’d escort us to our turn off. So we start following him, then at a red light he came back again and said he didn’t have anything to do, he’ll go with us. So he asked which car we should all take and I’m like, let’s go separately; what if one of us wants to leave sooner? He said he just got off work and he was wearing shorts and a tee. So we followed him downtown and he paid for our parking. Then he said since he paid for parking, we can pay taxi. No prob. Colleen said she’d get it. We were going to Rush Street. So the taxi stops at a red light at some isolated intersection and he’s going “we can get out here and walk two blocks” and Colleen’s going “I don’t see Rush St” and I go “I don’t see a cash machine” cuz Colleen and him needed a cash machine. So we drove to Rush and Colleen didn’t tip him—she’s like “do you tip taxi drivers and I go yes, but it was too late. So Colleen’s behind him in line and he’s looking forward and she’s looking at us, mouthing “I don’t know about this guy.” Cheryl said Colleen said his name was Dwight. It was Mike. We got a good laugh from that. 

Mother’s was really packed, so we went into this pub—forgot it’s name again. Mike said he lived on 36th and Colfax and had a “special friend” that worked at the Rainbow uptown. So I took a picture of him and promised him 5x to bring it to Margaret Tues, Fri or Sat nite and say he misses her a lot. He said that sometimes you just know it with special people—you just know when you belong together. But she has a house there, and his job transferred him to Chicago. And he kept laughing that Colleen didn’t tip the taxi driver and he’s going off on it. Then, when it was my turn to buy the round I didn’t tip her cuz I figured I’d do it at the end of the nite. So he laughed at that. He’s all, “wait till I tell the guys at work.” He bought the first round and we’re all exchanging glances. Then we bought one round each, but he was buying his own drinks. Then, before we left, we were dancing to 60s tunes and UB40. It was quite fun. Cheryl put our names on the bathroom wall! It was quite evident that we were movie buffs and he didn’t see them much. But it was fun. We took tons of pix, and I showed him the cigarette in ear and nose trick that Illya taught me. 

Like a dumbshit, when we were following him, we went through a tollway and he didn’t have exact change, and on habit, I went through the manual – car with exact change lane and realized I lost him, so I pulled to the shoulder and put my emergencys on, and a cop pulled up behind me without lights flashing and just then we saw him waiting for us ahead on the shoulder and Colleen’s going, “don’t drive off with fuzz behind you”, so the cop walks to the car and asks if we were lost or what, and I said we were waiting for the guy up ahead, and he’s like “oh, sorry” (!!!) and walked back. Then I put my brights on for some reason as we entered the city—Colleen told me to to communicate, but I forgot why. So I put ‘em on, and brights were — lights were always confusing in that car and I inadvertently turned the lights off when I turned the brights off. And I didn’t want to tailgate him, so traffic came between us on the Kennedy. But going back wasn’t bad. I had been drinking but wasn’t drunk and I was going like 75 mph almost all the way home and it was a tad intimidating at that speed; I felt the speed but it was a thrill at the same time. I slept alone that night.

SUNDAY: We got up around 8-8:30, got free breakfast and got ready. Scott, the lovebird, finally called around 9:30 and gave directions. So we get on 94 West like he told us. He said they were by the O’Hare. So we’re driving for like 15 minutes and not one sign for the airport, then I’m looking at the map and saw the airport’s east of Shaumberg. So we turn around at a cornfield, then got lost and confused in the area of their hotel, and didn’t get there till around 11-11:30am. So we finally pick them up and by now Cheryl and Colleen have serious plans for Scott! So I was bitchy the whole time I drove home. Traffic, people hogging up both lanes going home, bitching about their music. Scott and Lisa I think were offended by my mouth and I feel bad. I prob’ly won’t be invited to their wedding. Tho’ it would be fun. So we reach the Twin Cities area about 6:45pm, something. So we’re on 94, planning on taking 394 West to 494 South to 7 to Cheryl’s. Well, traffic is so bad on 94 by West St. Paul/U area that I exited to go pee; I had been holding it since the large diet from Hardee’s, like 4, 5 hours. So we finally get back on 280 and 94 West and traffic was really held up, and it’s like quarter to 8. So we get to Cheryl’s, unpack, and there’s a message from Kevin. So I go park the car, come back, and he called, so I call him back. 

The only thing I left behind in the car is change in the ashtray. (Me and Ber had a system; we got exact change for each other so we had it ready for the toll). So I drive Kevin’s car, and I thought it was stuck in some funky gear cuz it was going real slow and he said the brakes were bad. But I made it to the rent-a-car return. He went in and paid and it turns out we were $70 short, plus I almost forgot the house key from the key-chain and he was pulling out with the car, so I just barely got it. They put a $11 charge for being an hour late.(9p) So Kev had to return videos he rented before 10p, so we went all the way to the Video Library by Grampa’s – Andy’s Tap. Then he drove me home and it was like 9:50p. Cheryl called to ask the price, so I called her and told her and she was shocked, too. I had had my arms full, so I dropped the bag by the stairs, with all the film, the Shockwave picture, my new tee and tank, my only sandals, my fanny pack, Visa- both, all my clothes-navy shorts, sweatshirt, tanks, groovy shorts, Lite tee, minidress, new Victoria’s Secret tan shorts, Clete’s navy pinstriped boxers that I wore to the train staion and Sears tower. My toothbrush, Trésor, make-up, trial sizes, powder, powder brush, bags from Hard Rock and Planet Hollywood. So I was tired and wanted to go to sleep and figured I’ll get the bag and unpack and clean the next day. I kept determinedly thinking “my bag’s downstairs—I need to get it” Well, it was gone the next morning. It’s Tuesday night now and it’s just gone, disappeared. I told a cop lady and she filed a report. I’m real upset; distraught. Dad’s STILL tripping way hard. I sent my film express and it was $10!! Never again.

 
Aside

Beginning my Last Days!

June 26, 2011 at 5:10pm

Owed to My Place (“Hotel Los Dominicos”, Talca Chile):

It did not start with The Night of the Salmon

As many would like to bet

Nor did it start with the Drama at Easy

As others prob´ly won´t forget

It was the inspiration of Greg n Mate

Who I most humbly thank

It was those first cold days and nights

In which I wish I could have drank

The track lighting and coordinated colors

The shadows that danced and stretched

The view of the glistening Talcan landscape

The dinners that in the states would´ve been fetched

The deep and the dark

The bright in the spark

Erick´s lilies´window silhouette

The camel-colored curtains I had to get

The floating electric heat

The truck noises from the street

I am really going to miss this place!

…and the countdown of days begins…!!!

I bought this the night of the cuenca review!

I bought this the night of the cuenca review!

My dishes I arrived with.

My dishes I arrived with.

...wears her sunglasses at...  my 8th floor apt!

…wears her sunglasses at… my 8th floor apt!

Before my living room became inhabited by many electric cords...

Before my living room became inhabited by many electric cords…
 

First Days

He glided across the barre, then step by step sidled back up to her, and then again, the second time situating himself next to Ridi and they chirped and squawked away for several minutes before repeating the whole thing a few times, interrupted at moments with breaks for personal hygiene.  Meal time was a whole ‘nother ball game, an intricate dance of grabbing and passing food back and forth.  But most of their time was spent side by side like a couple of old bats, gossiping and bitching and laughing and conversing.  After all this time living together you would think they would have said all there is to say and be completely bored with each other by now.  But they got along like Lorraine Perron and Ellie Gjerde, happy and anxious about each other’s presence at the same time.

Parallel lives, parallel movements, parallel right wing then left wing hygiene, they ruffle their feathers together,  perfectly synchronized.

In the kitchen at the same time, each making similar but not the same pasta dishes, chicken dishes…  Eating at the same table together, together but not together since they barely knew each other.  Watching tv; one at the computer the other on an actual television set, but both doing the same thing in a slightly different way.  It was a miracle the bathroom was available when one needed it.

Ridi somehow felt at home the moment her foot touched the inside of the large imposing door.  Ensconced and comfortable, even though it was just an empty shell of a cage, Culo had formed it into his world which was just exactly what she needed at the time, nothing more and nothing less.  It was full of nothing but his ego, his smell and some of his feathers laying around at the bottom and surrounding the cage.

Culo mentioned to Ridi one day in a moment of bird inebriation that a sexy Eastern European had interviewed before her but had no brain and then we interviewed and then later moved in.  But the very next weekend; the next incident of inebriation and beer he told Ridi she was the only person he interviewed.  She filled him in on his error to which he replied “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Then “it was a lie.” haha.

Black Beans and Feeding Frenzies

The cage was self-imposed, after all, at any moment any one could just fly away; it wasn’t that difficult beyond their own ideological boundaries. 

Culo was displaying again in the cage, his ego fawning, jumping to the top rung of the cage, wings almost full spread in their little space, and even gave a squawk.  Was it because she had committed Sin Number 1 and ducked her head under wing in a stance of humility and perhaps a little vulnerability?  She well knew NEVER ever to show vulnerability, that was rule #1 for survival in the cage.  Any movement, any signal was the open door to his fawning, even his rage and she feared that lack of equilibrium almost as much as he did.  If he squawked, she must just let him squawk patiently without being personally affected.  Maintain the control, the balance of power or she would repent for the rest of their existence together.

He was fawning over his big first day back to giving classes at a local private university where men must wear suits and ties every day, he was having a blast in the kitchen, pots and pans clanging and clacking, a multi-course breakfast.  If he had been Ridi he would have been singing, too, but at this moment he just had a slight curl at his beak and his tail feather at half mast.  Ridi noticed the physical symbols first, subconsciously of course, and responded likewise, chirping and singing and even untrepidatingly came up close to him, touching him while in his space and he responded likewise, his back and limbs soft and forgiving, his head slightly bowed towards hers.  “A breakfast for champions.”

He reached into the refrigerator and took the 2/3 full liter-sized container of the black beans she cooked up 2 days previous with jalapeno peppers and garlic cloves that she was planning on using with the shrimp she bought yesterday in an unprecedented splurge to eat something more interesting than the sunflower-less bird seed typically imposed into their cage.  He dumped the entire contents into the vegetable oil-lined wok and Ridi screeched and he squawked right over her in reply “it’s Gallo Pinto, the same thing you ate before.”  He could have left a few beans…

“Yes, and I noticed the other day the bad taste of that oil.”

“I’m not going to change the way I cook just for you,” he bellered.

“I would NEVER ask you to do that.”  Nor would she ever expect it.  And that was the beauty of the relationship as far as she was concerned.  No expectations.  None.  That was 90% beautiful and 90% true.  She enjoyed and needed her idiological space, especially in light of the lack of the physical.

She turned to stalk away to stew in her frustration when he stopped her with “fine, go to your room and cry”  IS THAT WHAT HE THOUGHT??!!  She stood fixed and stared at him in disbelief.  Disbelief at the gall he had to insinuate such strong reactions, disbelief at the quickness into which he fell from the top rung to the litter-lined floor, sweat and ire spewing from his pores.  His feet seemed nailed into the floor and she remembered Duane the Tub I’m Dwounding, equally rigid and unswerving.

For lack of a better response, she ducked her head slightly in like a bull, pushing herself into the almost nonexistent space they called the kitchen and proceeded to scrub a potato.  She was absolutely starving and didn’t know why since they had had an equally large and late dinner the night before.  Usually in those cases she woke up still feeling quite full.  He had already fried some plantain using that same awful oil, but her stomach really didn’t care.  “You could have used my coconut oil for that.”

“Too late.  Are you going to be picky?”

“Ha, no, I’m starving.”  So hungry she wanted to cry.  In one swift second she had lost any control about what she was about to put in her body at the start of the day, the time of day when what you put in has the most influence of how your entire day will go, which may, in some indirect play of fate, somehow predict and shape the rest of her life (after all, every day is the first day of the rest of your life).  She swallowed a fried plantain almost whole as she respectfully cleared the table of the computer he always insisted didn’t belong, as well as its accoutrements.

They sat down at the table shortly, with his laptop appearing out of nowhere, he watching some comedian on Youtube which she didn’t even try to pay attention to.  Instead she looked over at the birds, the bigger one jutting his chest out on the top rung as the other pranced back and forth on the middle bar.  Ugh.  Are we the chickens or the eggs in our symbiotic relationship?

The next day Culo made lunch; another gigantic 5-parts on the plate meal, but used the olive oil instead this time, and made it for the both of them to eat.  Maybe he felt bad about yesterday?  But he still wasn’t talking to her.  She felt he had a need for her, especially when he told her he got bored when she left the cage for weekend trips,  but of course that’s when he would least want her in his immediate circle of physical space.

What the Birds are Probably Squawking About

What the birds are probably squawking about all the time:

“So what did you have for dinner last night?

“WTF?!  I had bird seed.  The same damn bird seed we eat every day.  You know that, you were THERE! What kind of idiot question…”

“I was just asking–just making conversation since we’re stuck in this damn bird cage together day after day, what ELSE are we going to talk about?”

“I don’t know, your pathetic love life?”

“Well that’s YOUR fault since there ARE NO OTHER BIRDS within the 12 inches of our entire world.”

Aside

“Necesito un milagro.”

There are no miracles left.

“It’s amazing how two birds can live so nicely together in such a little cage.”

You don’t really know someone until you have lived with them and breathed their air to truly understand their demons and where they come from.  It is even more helpful when said person is cognizant and truthful about themselves, and they will tell you everything they know in the most lucid drunken stupors… and then you know.  You know who  and what you are dealing with and you just want to hug them and tell them everything will be all right, but you refrain, like in the Bob Dylan song, you refrain because you know it’s just not the thing to do at the time.

He jumped up onto the circular hoop above the bar where she sat, and started to swing, then swinging his claws around the other way, like a gymnast on the parallel bars and she started chattering away.  Was she chastising him?  Was he showing off, claiming his dominance or just reinforcing his preferred higher status within their small dual hierarchy?  He’s not necessarily trying to hurt her feelings or make her feel less; he’s just in a moment of insecurity and needing to establish his dominance again.

Sharing your space can be an extremely intimate experience, and maybe that’s what he is spazzing about, at the end of the day.  Besides being in each other’s physical space, they are sharing the same environment, breathing the same air; each other’s exhaled oxygen…

“I was thinking of you today when I was walking,” she said quite matter of factly at the dining room table meant for four, which felt grossly large in the tiny living room.  His eyes lit up “oh yeah?”  So she went into her spheel she imagined herself giving him in her flight down the sundrenched Parque Forestal: “eras un hombre con estandares y exitos y si estabas flojo, siempre lograbas al final del dia, pero sabes que, no has cambiado, solo la situacion; sigues siendo la misma persona quien estabas.”  His left eye turned red and glossy but she, with her own peacock character, felt a rush of color: she finally had an audience, as well as the impact to touch a nerve.  Oh, the egocentrism!  She felt a sense of success in being able to bring a grown, mature and successful man to the verge of tears.

The Cage

Ridi was flying around the beautiful, lush foliage.  Perfectly trimmed and coifed, she was coddled and cared for, but her flying was not just aimless, it was dangerous.  She kept bumping into things, scathing her wings and plumage against the cold, the sharp, the prickly, looking enemies in their mouths, and sleeping in dark, wet marshlands and sometimes in places she couldn’t even try to describe.  

On this beautiful sunny summer day she was in her usual tizzy, flitting from branch to branch, trying to stay aloft when she landed in a cold, unfamiliar bed of what felt like metal and straw.  It smelled stale and synthetic, yet with a sense of odd familiarity.  It was not completely uncomfortable, but it wasn’t the familiar moist green she was used to.  There was a small click and it was then she realized she was not alone.  There was another of her and as she looked at him she realized he wasn’t her; there was no mirror nor its image, but he had a familiar smell and his plumage was similarly colored and he had the same perceptive and astute look in his eye that she knew they were of the same species and recognized him as her peer.

He blinked in response, with a small upturn on his beak and showed her around the space.  Small, sparse but somehow homey—perhaps it was those scents, or maybe something more primal—pheral?, like pheromones.  Or could it be the smell of depression or desperation or something related that they both had in common?

He was bald and thick, not handsome but not ugly.  Really, he blended in with other beings as well as his surroundings; not showy, at least not in a visceral way.  He moved in a way that allowed space for her to follow him on her own terms until he led her to sit on the brick-colored sofa that almost clashed with the cedar-tinted “hardwood” floor. (All this naturalness and nothing natural about any of it.)

They carried on in a careful and spirit-free chatter, chirping back and forth, fanning just enough to prove their positions in the room and in the jungle.  She with her damaged and bandaged front from her most recent klutzy episode, had suddenly forgot herself as he managed to go deep into their thoughts, the chatter turning into a higher-pitched chirp almost ringing out in harmonious brilliance until an hour passed and it was time to go.Image