After I return from a trip, I scurry around my apartment unpacking and reorganizing my life, as if to preserve the order of the familiar, giving new cities and experiences space to sink in. Then, I usually sit in silence, reading or sipping tea; that’s when the new city starts to take root in my mind, when photos, ticket stubs and souvenirs become words and paragraphs.
Cincinnati was two vacations in one, a trip split between tennis oasis and city escape. Since I already wrote about the tennis part of my trip for The Double Bagel, it’s time to give Cincinnati a headline. With two quick mornings and one evening in the city, it was a whirlwind of picture-taking, walking and exploring this ultimate crossroads of a place. Cincinnati was comforting and challenging all at once, a city with Midwestern roots and Southern charm, a city that simultaneously feels homey and intoxicatingly unfamiliar.
2016 has its moments, like a rainbow outside my window.
Be with the person who touches your arm and says, “I didn’t notice,” when he sees you tug at your sleeve with embarrassment, covering the IV bruises that lurk under wrinkled fabric. For months I didn’t notice. How sick I was. How tired I was. How I craved the kind of relationships that exist in fleeting, intoxicating clarity, blurred by drawn-out time and undefined boundaries.
I notice too much now, maybe. I notice that different doctor’s offices include or exclude my middle initial in the address line when they send me bills. “O.” Sometimes it’s there, sometimes it isn’t.
I notice the asterisks on menus; I am one, I suppose, a living, existing exception.
I notice how happy I am now, too. My hair is growing out, finally; I didn’t notice, even as I snapped weekly selfies from my infusion-room chair. The Olympics have helped me make peace with 2016 and 23, creating a space for togetherness in a year that has broken me apart. Oh, and Leslie Jones’ kick-ass commentary. Continue reading