Today is Sunday. A sunny afternoon in early December. The Southern California air is 65 degrees and tangibly crisp, as if admitting it is winter, but only meeting the minimum requirements of the season. Speakers attached to the palm trees play holiday music, reminding passerby ’tis the most wonderful time of the year.
Seated at a coffee shop patio, I listen to men converse gregariously at the pub next door, to the clinking of their beer bottles and the shrill laughter of their women whose smiles do not quite reach the corners of their mouthes. The air is tinted with the aroma of my espresso and the scent of their liquor. A gentle acoustic guitar playlist resounds on the coffee shop patio, the fanfare of Sunday football streaming from the pub.
My phone screen glows with a text- “Happy hour @ 5?”
“Srry, raincheck.” Aware I might be missing out on practicing the rules of attraction, but not entirely convinced.
I wear a distressed t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “Wild Child”, bought at Ala Moana shopping center on Oahu when I was 18 years old. The type that’s meant to look vintage, but is really produced by a fast-fashion retailer, providing Instagramable trends in the ever-shifting world of teenage style. Now, five years later, my shirt should more accurately state “Responsible Young Professional”, subtitled with Add Me On LinkedIn. I give a wry smile, knowing my 18 year-old-self would not have found that message quite as enticing.
My disheveled blond hair is swept under a faded red “Yosemite” ball cap. Although I’m in the heart of Los Angeles, I like the way the cap still hangs onto the scent of the snowmelt mountain streams I waded through last summer and the pine needles and sierra sun which weathered it. Like keeping an old plane ticket in the fold of one’s wallet, where the photo of a lover should be- it’s the sentiment that, I am in this place, but it is not where I have always been, or where I will always be. That the city might hold my physicality, but it doesn’t hold my heart.
Today, I found myself with a blank notebook and urge to spill thoughts to paper- but without a pen to write with. Like a traveler stranded in the desert, trekking to an oasis, I wandered into a postal store on main street, my small hope of finding a writing utensil in a digital world. The clerk behind the counter, a stout man with strawberry blonde hair and dimples lost in five-o’clock shadow, slid me a pen and winked, saying “keep it”. He understood. Writing and the post office- two services rendered relics of the past. I smiled, cold afternoon sun shining just a bit warmer.
Some women want drinks, some want pens.
x. Natasha Overin
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