Cynthia R.'s Blog

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The Stranger

As a sometimes writer, I very often think about the realization that each random passerby is living a life as detailed, complex and vivid as my own. Just as I sometimes think that my and my family’s experiences could make an epic film, I’m sure that others feel the exact same way. And it is true, every person’s story is populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and, the fun part, the inherent craziness that seems to eternally dwell in our lives.

In reality, the person next to me in the indistinct car waiting for the light to change holds an epic story that is unfolding right in front of me, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that I will never know existed. I, however, may only appear only once in this stranger’s story — not with a significant role, however, but more likely as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the road, as a lighted window at dusk — insignificant and unassuming, but clearly there.

And who is to say I’d even like to know this random passerby’s story? Would I even want a bigger role in this person’s epic story? Well, no. My truth is that I’m not taken by people that easily.

Ahh, but then I met you. And I was taken by you. And never did I feel so fervent about not only desiring to hear your story, but also being a part of it — not just as the person who accidentally bumps into you in the street and then goes on her merry way, but as the person who bumps into you in the street, drops all of her belongings, we both bend down to pick them up, we bump each other’s heads, have a laugh about it, decide to get coffee, etc., etc.

Not that our romance started in this idyllic manner or anything, but that’s how badly I wanted to get to know you and wanted to be a part of you. I guess what I’m trying to say here is… thank you. Thank you you for taking me on as a lead role in your life. I was born to play this role, really.

The Non-Conversation

I love that you read. You love that I read. So it’s only natural that we read together. Often. Sometimes the same novel, sometimes not. Sometimes the same New Yorker article, sometimes not. Sometimes the same book of poetry, sometimes not (and yes, I know you’re not the biggest poetry fan, but I appreciate your effort). You know what else I love, that those afternoons are spent almost saying nothing to each other at all. Not that I don’t love talking to you, but we both lead such verbal, over-articulated lives that sometimes we just need to be quiet (Ha! I’m sure ;) )

Those afternoons on the couch together are like paintings. Yes, paintings.

Like still life water colors, as Simon and Garfunkel once said.

There, we sit in front of our big bay window, bathed in mid-afternoon sunlight, facing each other with our legs sprawled out in front of us. The sunlight that beams through the curtained lace creates snowflake-like designs on our hardwood floors.
The sun begins to set a bit and shadows start to wash the room. There, we continue to sit and sip our coffee from each other’s alma maters’ mugs. There, I take sip after sip.

As I take my latest sip, I finally look up and catch a glimpse of the mug before I set it down. Your alma mater’s emblem. I’m suddenly taken to years ago.

There, we ride in my somewhat worn and always dirty white Jeep (the perfect road trip companion, we’ve come to find), taking our first road trip together. We wanted to visit each other’s alma maters and give each other tours. Remember? Remember how head over heels we were for each other that we just had to know we each of us had spent those four years of our lives? How much we wanted to show each other our old haunts, hookup spots, and locations that incited old memories?

And so as to have some sort of memento of our first trip as a couple, we got each other cheesy mugs. Yep, mundane mugs. Mugs that have proven to be quite useful, however — as here we are, drinking out of them years later.

I smile at you from across the couch — glasses falling to the tip of your nose, your index finger ready to turn to the next page, your mouth slightly open, engaged by the story being told in front of your eyes. You snap out of it for some reason and finally look up at me.

“What?”

“What do you mean, ‘what?'”

“Why are you looking at me all weird? Did you finish your precious Bécquer?”, you say in your classic mocking tone.

I point to your mug and you look.

“Do you remember that?”

You reply, your smile gradually widening, “Of course.”

And though that’s all we say to each other for the next hour or so; and though we are still about three feet away from each other — your hand has indeed taken mine.

 

Yours,

Cynthia

Notes to Future Husband – #7

Because he will love camping as much as I do.

via flickr

View From The Tent
The view from the tent calls our names.

Don’t you understand? It’s time to turn in.

I don’t have the patience, the iron will to separate myself from the desire to simply lie with you. And really, I apologize for my hurry, but the cold is coming and the sun is setting.

It’s funny, right? How all across the nation, seemingly far and wide away, many roam in more than enough light, while here we are with our only light source but minutes away from its daily game of peek-a-boo.

We’re finally snug as a bug in a rug, as you always say. Face-to face, chest-to-chest, knees-to-thighs . . . I am much shorter than you, after all.

The traces of sweet juice and alcohol on our breaths is prevalent, and luckily our eyelids are anything but heavy.

There’s no need to rise to turn off the lights,
the stars will dim as we please.

There will be no dreams tonight to interrupt.

There’s no need to turn off the alarm before it sounds,
for the birds will sing for us to rise when they feel it befitting.

My gaze moves from your handsome face to the view from the tent — a scene of dark greenery and flora bathed in moonlight, waltzing in the shiver-inducing breeze.

Both hold me in a trance, and no, I don’t stand a chance. For you are here with me, ripping at the seams with vivid stories, clever jokes, and oh so much warmth.

Suddenly my gaze coasts upward, to the supporting center pole of our house for the night. Frost himself says that is the “pinnacle of heavenward.”

And it’s true, can we get higher than this? Or perhaps, it is that we’re falling? Will I hit the ground and disappear?

No, you will open up your eyes, and I will be here.

Let’s pretend the morning is ages away. It is then, in the darkness, that you will see what I’ve known all along. So stay awake with me, please?

There’s no need to rise to turn off the lights,
the stars will dim as we please.

There will be no dreams tonight to interrupt.

There’s no need to turn off the alarm before it sounds,
for the birds will sing for us to rise when they feel it befitting.

Yours,

Cynthia

Real Life Monday: Can’t Stop That Feeling

I still remember it. That feeling. If you’re in high school, college, post-grad studies, etc., then you’re familiar with it. Oh, you know the one. It sinks into your stomach every Sunday night. Yep, there you are having a fine ol’ time, watching basketball or playing an insipid video game or, if you’re more my speed, reading (and/or watching reruns of a beloved 90s sitcom or teen drama), and then, yep, the doom sets in, sometimes suddenly, like a bomb, or gradually, like the poison of a lethal injection (Actually, not sure about that one . . .).

You think — Friday was just a couple days ago, I’ve barely had time to enjoy this one. Oh, I should finish up that paper. *Insert super audible sigh here* There’s so much to be done: homework, homework, reading (OK, maybe just those things), but you still have a few episodes left of  Season 4 of Sex and the City (the rise and fall of Carrie and Aidan! *tear*), so all that stuff can wait. And it seems that as long as you’re eatin’ buttery toast at the coffee shop with Miranda and Charlotte (I always say I’m a mix of cynical and cold  Miranda and sweet and demure Charlotte. I’m a walking paradox, I know.), Monday morning isn’t going to happen (I’ve obviously had way too much experience with this).

How does it always come as a shock? And you’d think that once you graduate college and become a working, productive member of society, that sick feeling would, I don’t know, just squander. You’d think that it’d be like — Score! I have no homework, so I can go to sleep at 3AM, doing whatever it is that grown-ups do until the wee hours of the morning. I’m so cool. But nope, from what I’ve heard, Sunday nights don’t go away for the now-working folk, they’ve simply taken a new shape.

These musings were inspired by last night (Sunday! And this past week, really), where many around me complained about the looming start of a new school semester. Tests, paper, quizzes! Ugh, my life. Ugh, I wish I didn’t have to go to school. Ugh, FML. After two hard-earned degrees (pointing to the way of useless . . .) and a half-year job search, hearing statements such as these inspire me to walk away before I punch that person in the mouth and scream, At least you’re doing something!! And like I said, that Sunday night feeling doesn’t go away after finishing school. Like a certain gentleman demonstrated, with that audible sigh and “I wish I could stay, but I have work in the morning.”, the Sunday night dread still holds true and alive for the twenty-somethings, just like a twisted virus that won’t go away. Right?

And as sick as this sounds (I’m not a masochist, I swear . . .), in truth, I miss that feeling. So try to roll with it, people. At least that Sunday night feeling means you’re doing something come Monday morning.

Sundays aren’t going anywhere. You can graduate, find a great, fun job, have a super hot guy work in your office, and you’ll still hate Sunday nights. Sundays will always be a thing. But remember, that means that there are endless possibilities! It’s the start of a new week! So instead of being standoffish (and let’s be real here: hateful) towards those Sunday nights, perhaps you should start to flirt with them, maybe even canoodle with them, and then take them out once or twice. And possibly then, they’ll start to treat you a little better. Really, this unemployed girl can’t wait for the opportunity.

Notes to Future Husband – #6

Haven’t done one of these in a while. And since I’ve had trouble writing lately, it’s been nice to fantasize about that one man who will consistently take me out of that writer’s frustration funk (or at least really try ;)). It might be odd for some of you to read these sort of letters that are actually, yes, very personal and probably a bit too sentimental, but the small idea that some of the best days of my life haven’t happened yet, and that these circumstances may occur one day — well that’s why I do it. So shut up.

Future Husband,

I understand that I have a lot of those days. You know, the days that I spend in front of the harsh, bluish glow of my laptop — just frustrated. I move from the couch to the kitchen to our bed to the hammock outside, to just break the monotony of my lack of, I don’t know, inspiration. I even take “breaks” — to the store, the gym, yoga class, or just take long drives. I act like some sort of tortured artist and I’m not sure why. All it takes is some focus and perseverance, which I definitely have (sometimes), but, yep, it’s one of those days again.

You come home from school [for some reason, I've always pictured my future husband as a teacher of some sort, so I'll just go with that . . .] and there I am: in the same position, in the same location. In a joking, light tone, you ask, “Have you moved at all?” I’m definitely not in the mood, so I give you the look. You know the one — the one where my lips straighten and I give you the ceiling eyes. You’ve dealt with it so much, that you know what to do. No kiss hello, just a retreat to the kitchen (where you belong . . . just kidding ;)) for a snack. I crank the music (for inspiration, of course, or to break the routine), which ranges from Stevie Nicks to A Tribe Called Quest to Jackson 5 to, yup, even N Sync (by the way, thank you for not judging me despite all those 90s pop phases I have . . .). You hear my loud and angry taps of the keyboard, you hear my very audible sighs and groans, and then you hear some rustling in the kitchen. I’ve finally gotten up to break my work-related fast.

You ask, “Are you hungry?” I say “Mhm”, in the most defeated tone. And then you show me why I’m just so blessed to have married you. As nighttime approaches and settles in and the glow of my computer gets brighter and brighter, you bring me one cup of coffee after the other (and then cut me off and bring me decaffeinated tea). With each cup comes a kiss on the forehead, as well. And just like each sip of the hot liquid gives my body warmth, your gestures and actions warm my heart and soul — to the point where everything’s just warm, content, and best of all, clear. To the point where it becomes simple to write the best that I can.

OK, you can give me a real kiss hello now.

Yours,

Cynthia

Songs I Like: Murk Those Winter Woes

Seasonal affective disorder is real. Seriously, it’s on Wikipedia and everything. Also known as “winter depression” or the “winter blues”, this disorder is when someone has episodes of depression that occur at a certain time of the year, usually during, yep, the winter months.

I mean, it makes sense to me — there you are, thinking you have the entire day to be productive, and suddenly it’s after six, it’s dark outside, and the only light available is that of the unflattering glow of your computer screen. That, my friends, is quite depressing.

Try to love winter, you all. And since I’m in California, I have to learn to love the winter rainstorms. Love the umbrellas and wearing scarves and hats. And please let’s not forget to love steaming (and I mean scalding) coffee. And when else can you use “freezing” (ie. below 55°F in California ;)) temperatures and winter storms as an excuse to stay home from school and/or work?  And I know, I know, the dreary, cold weather can breed the bad habit of listening to sad music — where the same day you pull out your oversized sweaters, you’re also pulling out dozens of lethargic, depressing songs about loneliness, heartbreak, and sadness. I’m not the only one, right? Right? Anyone?

Either way, it doesn’t have to be like this. I say music can definitely help wane (let me unleash the west coast side of me and say that certain music can even murk) the winter woes — the upbeat, promising kind of music, the kind that makes you feel like you’re not in cold, wet wherever you are.

So here’s to these woe-less songs, and not the sad love songs that you equate with absolutely no one, which makes them even more depressing. Am I right? OK, here’s to the songs that really make you go “Good day, sunshine!”

NON-DEPRESSING PLAYLIST*

1. Don’t Worry Baby — The Beach Boys (What epitomizes California sunshine more than The Beach Boys? Oh, and who can forget the closing scene of Never Been Kissed? Say it with me . . . Awwwwww.)

2. Hey Ya! – Outkast (Shake it, sh-shake it . . . shake those blues off of you. I know, lame.)

3. Countdown – Beyoncé (Almost makes me want to countdown along with Bey in front of my giant mirror. Almost ;).)

4. French Navy – Camera Obscura (A song about being whisked away in love in the most romantic city ever. Yes, please.)

5. Here Comes My Baby – Cat Stevens (Always think of this song every time I saunter down a street. I also picture ex-boyfs listening to this about the one who got away (ie. me). And why not?)

6. Diablo Rojo – Rodrigo y Gabriela (Song composed about a bad-ass roller-coaster in Copenhagen. Enough said.)

7. La Vida Es Un Carnaval – Celia Cruz (Ayyyyy/no hay que llorar/que la vida es un carnaval. Celia knows what’s up.)

8. No Woman No Cry – Bob Marley & The Wailers (Aside from the whole feeling like you’re at an outdoor summer music festival thing, Marley was right . . . Everything’s gonna be alright.)

*This playlist is on Spotify, if you’re interested in listening. Just click here or the name of the playlist above :)

[FW]: Water World

Hiking could be hard work, you know? And I know just about everyone abhors physical and, indeed, challenges of any other kind. I know that if it wasn’t for my health, I would gladly spend my free afternoons and weekends on the sofa, watching old episodes of I Love Lucy. Ah, the Red-headed Screwball! They don’t make ‘em like they used to, you know.

Oh, oh! And then there’s the whole exposure to the elements aspect. Breezes, sunshine, the smell of raw earth: what’s so great about that? Personally, I like to experience the world from inside air-conditioned spaces (well, who doesn’t, really?). The world, after all, is a messy place and best kept at an arm’s distance.

So I hope you caught the sarcasm above . . .

In truth, I’ve been on a hiking kick lately. And though hiking is technically walking — walking where you can pee — there’s just something about walking outside and not smelling gas emissions and hearing car honks — and actually experiencing the breeze, the warmth of the sun on your skin, and the smell of the raw earth whilst enveloped in cool, pine-scented air.

And because the wanderlust is creeping up again . . . and because it is Fantasy Wednesday . . . today I dream of going to Green Lake in Austria — a “hikeable” lake or . . .  should I say a “diveable” meadow?

Oh yeah, I also have a thing for bizarre natural phenomena. It’s sort of like God said, “Hey, let’s have a little fun with this.”

Green Lake in Austria is a popular spot for hiking that is nearly dry during the winter months. It’s essentially a meadow full of lush flora, accessible trails, and bridges. I would go for that image alone.

But there’s something a bit special about this spot. Once the temperatures start to creep up, the winter snow on the surrounding Hochschwab Mountains starts to melt, water flows down, and the valley is soon beautifully flooded with crystal clear water. And this is why every year, from May to July, adventure-seeking divers get excited about this special dive site in Austria, considering that the valley has the capacity to reach a water level of up to 30 feet.

green lake, austria. image via flickr

This means that the once-meadow, with all its spring flowers, hiking trails, and park benches, gets flooded — giving a diver the rare opportunity to see how his or her world would look like underwater. I mean, it’s not every day that you can see a submerged park that’s dry half of the year. Hiking, diving, whatever — seems like Green Lake is now on my list.

 

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