“Your groceries scream summer,” I told the lady who let me skip ahead of her on line as I held on tightly to my almost 10 pounds of watermelon for tonight’s consumption.
On the conveyor belt were burger patties, sauerkraut, shredded lettuce, strawberries, cheese, a pre-made mayonnaise-based salad, burger buns, and to my dismay, a loaf of Wonder Bread.
It was Sunday afternoon and she had plans to clean out her garage and barbecue.
It is now late afternoon, almost evening, and the sun is shining brightly. The clouds are interspersed. The sky is a pale blue. Two blonde young women almost run me over while riding their bicycles.
There is a gentle breeze that possesses an underlying warmth. It feels pleasant if not slightly unpleasant as my silky almost going on 2-day washed hair periodically blocks my vision.
In the air is an underlying chill that is laced with the aromas of barbecue and supper cooking. It is April 2nd and suddenly yesterday’s rain, wind, and chill factor that was exacerbated by cloud coverage, seems like one big cosmic April Fool’s prank.
It’s Spring after all. I’m wearing fleece sweatpants, a light-knit scarf that I just remembered having literally purchased from the bazaars of Istanbul some years ago.
On my head, covering my ears and successfully keeping my long ringlets at bay, is a slouchy, lightly woven navy blue beanie with a preppy University Of Pennsylvania patch stitched on the front that was purchased just yesterday. It pairs perfectly with my hooded wool button-down shearling-lined navy blue coat. I am tickled blue.
Summer, my favorite season, is forthcoming. I can feel it’s eminent presence and yet it’s hopeful distance as I continue to race against the clock to become healthy enough to enjoy it.
I have lost track of time and so I rush home, formulating reasons for why I was out (not) walking the entire time. I pass by a Muscle Maker Grill, ironically as I deplete my muscles in the process, and a Texas Roadhouse. The smells wafting from 6 two-way car lanes over are strong, as suspected, for dinner service. My lackluster appetite remains stagnant except for a longing for the black bean soup I purchased for my own dinner in a little over an hour from now.
I wanted to take the thinking out of the food equation tonight after yesterday’s laborious preoccupation with calories, carbs, proteins, and lack of motility on a long road trip from Hell.
The smells blend in well with the seasonality and extended daylight that I have still not yet come accustomed to. Only a few weeks have passed since Daylight Savings.
I inhale deeply, simultaneously pining and revolted. I remember all those barbecues from my childhood; my dad’s fiery orange tandoori rubbed chicken legs, his onion mint chutney with the eternal aftertaste made from our homegrown mint leaves. I remember my mom’s boiled potatoes to be tossed with seasonings and crunchy fritters in a sweet and tangy sauce mellowed out by thinned down and cooling yogurt. I remember the fruit shakes she made that I begged for to be thick and slushy. I remember the pasta she boiled, the starchy steam doing well to make the high temperatures rise even more. I remember my June birthdays and all the neighborhood children flocking for hot dogs my parents decided to buy just for this case scenario.
I remember hating the clean-up, and then dozing off into a stomach and memory-filled sleep.
Those days are gone, long gone, but it is now a rainy Tuesday morning, April 4th, and I feel at peace knowing that these days are gone. I am ok with it. I had always wanted to move on in the past and I have.
Of course, I could have never known that I would develop a life-threatening case of anorexia or that I would enter journalism, the profession that I truly always wanted deep down behind the obsession with medicine. I never knew that I would be jobless a year and a half out of graduate school with my 2nd Ivy League degree.
All that said, I will come out better for it. I truly believe that, so long as I do in fact come out of this. I have to come out of this. I will come out of this.