Coffee. The smell of coffee. Jess and I walked to the cafe through her neighborhood and the next one over. We stopped to watch cats, peeked into the windows of empty apartments, and walked around to the back yards of abandoned, condemned houses. We imagined the multiple ways of living that we could find, if we sought them out.
The sun was bright, but there was enough wind to cool the heat. We wore the burdens of our respective choices in our back packs. As we ignored what we carried, we talked about how lucky we were to have been rewarded with an extra day together.
When we walk in New Orleans, I am astounded by the flowers. It's easy to forget we're in a tropical climate, but the flowers leap into your face to remind you. Whole blocks of homes, used and not, smell of the same flowers. Who decided what they'd smell like? Or was it not a human decision, but the flowers deciding to take back what was theirs.
We'd come to a grinding halt in front of a new color, a different sort of flowering plant, bananas growing in the wild. The flowers in New orleans make it so clear they are just out to get some, with their bright colors and loud smells. But really, maybe they're just looking for love. I think that's what I like most about them: the peak of their beauty is all about flower-sex. I empathize for the search, but I don't get sad for them. Here, in the tropics, they're likely to find it.
I think about how they are clearly so happy to grow here. If I were to take a plant, pot it, and bring it back to Wisconsin, I think that'd be one of the saddest things. All of that yearning taking place on my window sill and no relief!
It occurs to me that Jess is like these flowers, and that might be why I like them so much. It is so clear that she is thriving there, when her choices let her, that I hate the thought of bringing her back to sit in my apartment, devouring sunshine, in bloom, but lacking her chance to go further. To figure out what happens next?
So I visit her, and we walk together to the coffee shop to work, seated next to each other on my last, extra evening in town. We cuddle as we work and drink our coffee in the shade. We listen to the spontaneous music of humans blooming. We wonder if we are blooming, too. Will we, like the flowers, get many, many chances to scream out our exuberance? Will it move with us, if we figure out how to avoid containers? How much blooming-yearning is good for you? It seems to me that the gap between want and fulfillment is the most interesting gap I know of.