My head rests against cold, nobbled concrete. My body is limp. I’m clasping a hot cup and watching the sky coughing out clouds like fur balls. Someone has waved a hand and my life is vivid technicolour again. Trees are waving purple blossoms, yellow carpets of flowers bob around like puppets and gardens display colours like a coral bed, amid ascending palms and painted benches. The neighbourhoods around my new temporary home are clipped and neat. If a little wacky. I spotted a tree, bare but for Santa, swinging from a single thread. He was flanked by a hand-painted Jesus, a vivid orange inflatable Sargent Major fish, a waving green been and a predatory tiger, legs striking the distance between a forked branch. Nice.
I breathe a deep and releasing sigh just as my waitress brings me a free cookie and delivers a surprising apology. Blonde, star shaped and spotted with shrivelled currants it rests on my table. Her crime? Keeping me waiting for more than five minutes…I didn’t even realise I’d been violated.
In the 39 hours since my arrival on US soil, I’ve completed my hunter gatherings, made dates with friends and found my favoured local café. Re-entry was swift. A breeze.
I’ve new streets to explore and restaurants to review. Imagine my glee at finding an Indian store and cantina, right at the end of my street. My first meal was a perfectly spiced Masala dosa. An 18 Inches long rice and lentil pancake, stuffed with crushed potatoes. Mustard seeds, cumin, chilli, garam masala and sweet onions colour and partner perfectly with the mash. As does the accompanying fiery gravy. Sweet and Spice will be seeing a lot of me for sure.
The Los Angeles river is scooped out in the area between Atwater and Silverlake. I ran along the cycle path this morning. Trees bent in the central gully, probably mown by a heavyweight wind, house shredded plastic bags, wrappers and the occasional duck. To me it is beautiful. Running with my hair delivering rivers of water down the neck of my coat did nothing to quell my joy at being HOME.
I prayed for this. This is what I have.
I wrapped the star-shaped cookie in a napkin, stuffed it into my jacket pocket and walked back to my apartment with the mountains in the distance before me. Tomorrow I will meet with some good friends and hopefully find the means to get me to those very mountains . My home for a few weeks above the Palm Springs desert.