the last embassy
enjelani's journal archives

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4 May 2002 (Saturday)

on the back stairwell

There is something delicious about loneliness, when the dosage is measured right. It illuminates parts of the psyche usually hidden, too easily masked by the presence of a lover or good friends.

Séverine has decided that I'm all right, so far as humans go. I know this because she dug her claws deep into the legs of my jeans this afternoon, while I was giving her a headrub. I'm practicing my French on her, for no particular reason other than an inexplicable belief that all cats understand French. Quoi de neuf, Séverine? I ask. As-tu faim? Je peux acheter un peu de lait pour toi, si tu veux. She mews, then starts as a man comes up the stairs. N'aie pas peur, chérie, c'est un ami, I tell her, though I don't know that for a fact myself. But sure enough it's a neighbor, a Russian fellow named Dobrin, and just like me he crouches down and offers his hand gently to her in greeting. He's middle-aged, with a warm smile and creased hands. He drives a taxi. I now personally know a Russian cab driver.

I get the feeling that I am living some part of Virginia Woolf's A Room Of One's Own. Which I haven't read. Which I should read. This is an excellent excuse to go to that lovely bookstore across town, the one with ancient wooden staircases and rooms that open into rooms that open into rooms, an endless maze of secret passageways. "It's one big fire hazard," I said to Soren once, "in a good way. I mean, it's all wood and paper, it's dry and's everything that the physical experience of buying books should be."

Minor epiphany of the evening: pupusas taste a hell of a lot better when eaten with the pickled cabbage. ("Ohh, so that's what that's for. Duh.") Also, the family-run taquerias around here make a mean horchata.

posted by enjelani @ 11:06 PM PST [ link ]

3 May 2002 (Friday)


Slept in the new apartment for the first time last night. I've never lived in a place overlooking a busy street before. The whish of cars and the boomzooming of buses were my lullaby.

Soren showed up around 9:30 with a bouquet of yellow daisies and a pint of Häagen-Dazs -- Belgian chocolate. I grinned and threw my arms around him and then we hunted for something with which to consume the Häagen-Dazs, only to find that I have no silverware, just an unopened 3-pack of spatulas. So we lit my new candles and sat my new bed and ate ice cream with a rubber scraper, amidst a still-life cacophony of boxes and brown shopping bags.

Tomorrow I'll be making a tour of garage sales. I am determined to buy the remainder of my necessities used: plates and bowls, appliances, lamps, tables. Reduce and reuse before recycling, as they say.

There's a black cat that haunts the premises. Last weekend I left the van's side door open between trips, and when I returned there was frantic rustling between my pile of laundry and my boxes of CDs. Letting a paranoid cat out of one's vehicle is more work than releasing a trapped fly, let me tell you. At any rate, she's taken to greeting me on the steps down to the garden every night when I come home, staring at me intently before fading seamlessly back into the shadows. I've decided to call her Séverine.

posted by enjelani @ 12:18 PM PST [ link ]

1 May 2002 (Wednesday)

roundabout love letters

Excerpts from a fit of tandem daydreaming. "You guys are weird," Emmett told me when I recapped for him on a hike last winter. "What are you imagining sad things for?"

>> more...

posted by enjelani @ 08:26 PM PST [ link ]

30 April 2002 (Tuesday)

state of suspension

Right now home feels like it's split into four places: old apartment, new apartment, work, and my parents' house. For practical purposes this is hell, since my bills are in one place and my stamps in another, and so on. For spiritual purposes this is wonderful. I get the distinct sense that there is nothing material that truly belongs to me, and that I belong no place but exactly where I am at any given moment.

My cell phone also ran out of juice mid-afternoon yesterday, and the charger was one of those items sitting safely in an undisclosed (or at least unrecalled) location. So I was totally cut off from the wireless network for the first time in almost a year, since I first got the thing. Life went on without the cell. This was useful to remember.

My mind remains a mystery to me. Work is as stressful as ever; a few personal relationships are still strained; my roommates are having trouble finding a replacement for me and need me to help; I am due for a bout of PMS; I've spent far more money than I meant to these past few weeks; I am tired and hungry and bruised all over from carrying bookshelves up three flights of stairs. And I have never been happier. Mystery.

posted by enjelani @ 10:47 PM PST [ link ]

29 April 2002 (Monday)

notes to self

Open up. Let the weather in: the deep gray rainstorms, the bluegoldwhite of sun and cloud, the winds that scatter, the hot restless high noon. That which is safe and sterile never grows.

Circling is the only way we ever get anywhere. Arc out, arc back, all the time spiraling upward. Remember that other dimension; every time you return to where you began, it's not quite the same place.

Love is an art -- a skill, a craft. Where conversation is effortless and interests similar and attraction undeniable, that's the simplest of projects. But can you love where there are years of bitterness? Conversations that hover awkwardly, with little common ground? Can you learn to love when it doesn't come easy?

posted by enjelani @ 09:03 AM PST [ link ]