Posts Tagged ‘The First 100 Days’



April 15, 2017

From the BART windows, passing through West Oakland, I spotted a man sitting outside an RV in a trash-filled yard, a set of empty deck chairs around a glass table, forty retired dusty mailboxes lined up in the corner of the post office’s back lot.

If everything goes wrong, most people might not miss these things. But I will ache for the liquor store at the intersection of 7th and Center, for the rumbling line of trucks awaiting containers of cargo at the port, for the multi-colored loops of tags on the wood siding of houses glimpsed from above.


Despite it all

April 14, 2017

She pushed through a curtain of beads into the room, leaving a swirling clatter in her wake. It’s Friday, she announced. Let’s find a way to forget all of this.

She had something outrageous in her purse, she whispered, and she didn’t care what they did with it. He found that confusing, but he also liked her style. He liked a woman who could look in the face of disaster and laugh.

There’s nothing left for us to do, she said. We’re going to have to have fun despite it all. Come on. Let’s go.


The most beautiful cake

April 13, 2017

At the end of dinner, we eat cake. Maybe we have some champagne—mostly for the ladies, because they love bubbles, am I right?—but we have chocolate cake like you would not believe. I know the pastry chef, and let me tell you, he makes the best cakes.

Everyone tastes the cake, and they say how great this cake is, and then we all talk about that icing—no one makes icing like that pastry chef. Sometimes we bomb one of those countries over there, but mostly, we eat cake. The most beautiful cake. Believe me.


Briefing book

April 12, 2017

That afternoon was three parts cloudy, with spatters of rain landing like spittle launched from a high balcony. He waited for the barista to make his coffee, the lines in his face deeper than usual.

For days, he had worked on the briefing book he hoped might stop the impending invasion, sleeping on his office sofa in a rumpled shirt and khakis for a few hours at a time before diving back in.

No one would read the book, but he wanted, someday, to be able to say he’d thrown words in the face of the the oncoming storm.


The wall between us

April 11, 2017

There might be places where one can slip back and forth from Mexico like a jackrabbit in the desert. There might be letters about eminent domain arriving in poorly located mailboxes. But here, in America, we long ago built gerrymandered walls between the ones who think we’re getting greater, and those who gnash their teeth at our demise.

Far from any boundary, I walk past a car bumper decorated with a particular sticker. The barrier between us is so real, I could put up my hand and feel the cold steel of it along the curb between us.


The chance to cross paths

April 10, 2017

At the play for preschoolers, another mother and I commented throughout, giggled at our children’s behavior, shook hands at the end, introduced ourselves last, as if we needed to go through all the rest before we moved beyond the label proscribed by birthing.

I murmured her name again and again on the way to the car, defying my exhaustion-addled memory, committing it so I might retrieve it if I see her next season.

And yet, in the car, I remembered the weekend’s news. I wondered if we’d have the chance to cross paths again before everything goes to hell.



April 9, 2017

Deep inside a northbound carrier, a sailor played solitaire all night in his bunk, unable to put words to the anxiety that was, maybe, unfairly arising. After all, he signed up for this, and you don’t join the military without accepting the possibility of war. But the cards felt like they were falling differently this time, and the stakes felt far higher than he had ever expected.

Batten down the hatches, a friend had said in the mess over dinner. This is going to be one heck of a storm.