Monday, January 24, 2011

South End Winter

I started the Oasis series on the plane ride to Boston. I had no idea that it would be consuming so much of my time. I feel like I haven’t had time to reflect on my surroundings and record the day to day happenings that are so important to me. I suppose a stream of consciousness memory of my last week is probably in order.

I remember looking out of the window and watching the lights on the towns turn on. The snowy landscape below turned a deep blue purple and bright orange dots popped on. We landed in a gray and cold Boston. Reno’s mild and warm weather was behind me replaced with muddy snow and steam rising from grates.

One week with Ciera. Her tiny apartment somehow houses three people and a mouse. This week is time for me to prepare for the coming semester. A mental toughness, rearranging of priorities. Get ready for the cold. So I do what makes me happy and energized. I draw, I read, I cook for the apartment.

A quiet evening, cooking a meal, talking to Ciera’s room mate, learning about a life I know nothing of. It is hard to wait, but Beth is good company, a gentle individual that exudes a maternal aura; something that prompts Ana, the apartment’s final dweller, to ask if everything she does is ok. Of course it is, but it seems she holds the rules to the apartment in her head. By Friday I realize that the rules are for Beth, not for the rest of the apartment. When Beth, Nick Lee, and I lock ourselves out of the apartment, it is a failure of her main rules. For someone that seems to have so many systems in place it is funny to watch Beth clumsily forget things, get frustrated at her lack of mindfulness, and scold herself for not following her own wisdom.

On Tuesday I watched the Big Lebowski with Ana and Ciera. The movie is funny, great, and long. Ana lost interest halfway through. But she was definitely moved by it because on Thursday we had a white Russian night. Some friends came by and hung out in the kitchen. Ana has radiating warmth, an eagerness to get to know you that startled me at first. She is an open individual, a bridge builder looking for people to like her as much as she likes people. She has a tendency to get easily distracted though. She disappears without warning and never comes back.

Ciera and I found plenty of time to ourselves despite the exciting characters that occupy her life. I get to glimpse it; a pinhole to her life. The odd moments are the ones I cherish: sketching on her bed and suddenly laughing hysterically with her about something inane; walking down Newbury Street enjoying the crowded street, moving through the people as if we were alone; coffee in the morning enjoying a ray of light through the window.

Leaving is the hardest part; a journey cut short by inclement weather. Greg comes to pick me up around ten and the waiting is agonizing. We make the most of the last few hours; talking and laughing. The drive back is spent anticipating Saratoga Springs. The drive is black; Greg is good company, the freshman asleep in the back seat seems nice enough. It is a long cold tunnel to Saratoga. I stumble into the house. It is warm. My bed is too big. Break is over.