Thursday, June 26, 2003

A rare slip into the personal. Don't get used to it.

Since I already betrayed the fleeting homesickness that occassionally descends, this:

The Scene: Sidewalk table of a neighborhood bar. Warm air still feels strange on the newly bared skin of all the girls flouncing down the streets, showing off skirts that have been waiting angrily in drawers through May and June. Waiting for a friend, I am eavesdropping on the conversation at the next table.

The girl and her boyfriend/husband/fiance will soon be moving to Austin. Her companions ask about the town. What is it like? Where will you live? Is it near the University? Do they have more houses or apartments there? Are they big or small? How are the restaurants? Isn't there a lake? Oh, it's a river, but they call it a lake? How silly.

I want to interrupt to answer these questions, but she knows all the right answers. She's buying a house in Hyde Park. She knows how many blocks that puts her from the university, and how many from the river/lake. She knows the years they were built, and what restaurants are nearby.

I feel myself becoming anxious and jealous.

But then I remember two nights ago, taking the bus up to the park to lie in the grass and listen to old rockers wailing on stage. And how, when walking back, I passed the crowds of people shucking crabs and eating falafel and sipping drinks at the sidewalk tables lining the streets. And then, when it was darker still and I was five minutes from home, I looked up at the National Cathedral which at night loses the too-new sheen it has during the day and instead looks like something ancient and mysterious.

And remembering all that, I didn't mind the conversation next to me anymore. Because she didn't mention Curra's. I probably would have started crying like a little girl if she'd mentioned Curra's.


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