Thursday, August 23, 2012

Perfection On The Corner

Parker sipped at the jar that held her morning cup of tea.  Just 15 minutes after the water had boiled and the milk was added to the decaf earl gray, all the aromas and flavors were blended and it was now the perfect temperature.  She held the jar with her right gloved hand, finding the glass too hot for the touch, but just the right heat for her tongue. Steam danced in brief swirling movements off the top of the liquid, smelling of earthy bergamot and sweet cream. 
She guided the cool plastic steering wheel with her left, ungloved hand, turning it expertly as the road curved just slightly to the left, and then a moment later, to the right.  On her left was the Alemany farmer’s market, which she knew started very early. 
It was 7:30 and already there were groups of two or three middle aged Asian women crossing the street, leaving with heavy bags of produce and vegetables she could not name. She surveyed the sea of white canopied tents from afar as she waited for the light to change. When it did, she was off, scanning the road for potential hazards, as Mr. Dutton had taught her in driver’s ed. 
She went underneath a freeway overpass and was once again delighted to see the mural on the large cement pillar that held up part of the overpass bride.  It was bright, with all the rainbow represented.  The painting wrapped around the wide cylinder and there were huge purple and yellow flowers that guided the eye smoothly towards the predominant subject: the torso of a smiling black woman nearly enveloped in foliage and colors.
She hit another light as she emerged from the shadow of the bridge.  She sat, watching the various lanes of cars take turns moving through the intersection. A Beatles song came on the radio and she sang along with the lyrics. 
“Jai Guru Deva. Om... Nothing's gonna change my world.” 
She noticed the vacant lot on the corner edged with wild fennel over five feet tall.  Where some of a fence remained, scrawled graffiti speckled it like bird droppings on a rusted car. 
“Nothing's gonna change my world.” 
She sang, and it was one of those moments, so early in the morning, when everything seemed perfectly in place. All the thousands of moments that had filled her lifetime, the people she had known- those that had been forgotten and lost, the moments she remembered and the pain that had etched itself into her story, everything at that corner seemed so delicately perfect.
It was now a familiar sensation that seemed mostly to come on these early morning drives, sometimes with a warm jar of tea in her hand and a sense of something at the edge of her skin and awareness more beautiful than she could ever really describe, a wonder that went beyond the knowable.
“Jai Guru Deva. Om... Nothing's gonna change my world.” 
As a tear swelled up and pushed itself over the lip of her eyelid, she remembered that she had cried at the very same spot during a Beatles song just a few weeks before. The same song. The same moment repeated.  She let the tear flow, letting the tiny river stay on her cheek tingling with life. 
Breathe, she remembered.  Her chest expanded as the light changed to green and she pressed on the pedal.
Later she would think about the corner- what was it about that spot, so early in the morning, that brought her to life?  Later she would caress the edges of consciousness and marvel at the mystery of the recurring story.
But for now, before the human remembered itself, she sang and let the tears fall as they would. 

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