“Everybody loves something, even if it’s only tortillas.” — Trungpa Rinpoche
A fresh tortilla; airy, just a bit buttery, pliant, perfumy, maybe still hot…what an exquisite thing.
After a breakup, Derek invites me to game night in Inwood.
“How are you?” he asks. It’s been while.
“I just got abruptly fired! And abruptly dumped! I’ve been better.”
“Oh no.” He says, “We’ll have plenty to drink. And pizza.”
All the way up on leafy 181 Street, we play games that result in furious giggles. Derek and Carol serve a mean rose cocktail, garnished with cucumber slices, and tortilla chips with creamy guac (And then pizza!). I feel the love of my friends like I feel the heat on the sticky subway platform: it’s all-encompassing. People say so many things when you get abruptly dumped:
- Chin up!
- Men are like buses, another one always comes along.
- Time heals all wounds.
- Pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth.
- Chin up!
- Don’t be afraid to lose what wasn’t meant to be.
- And a million other things.
They tell you, “You’re a beautiful, fierce warrior.” They give you advice: “Take time for you! Love yourself!” Or, “the best way to get over a man is to get under another. Workout! Bask in sunshine! Go dancing! Lipstick! Stay busy!”
I listen to their words like they may contain the crux of salvation. I meditate at the Shambhala Center on 22nd Street, where they keep saying, “feel the feelings, drop the story.”
I am a writer, I crave the story. I walk around listening to music, and my heart feels less spiky, bloody, slowly. It feels oceany. The waves don’t so much crash as roll in an unending oceanic symphony. I want to cook things, and write things, and share things. I make salads with plentiful pepitas, and braise short ribs, and roast chicken.
“The position of power is always with the lover.”
It’s the best first date I’ve had in a long time. We’re eating lobster rolls, the sweet lobster meat squishing between the butteriest of dense bread. We’re laughing. We’re listening to a tiny woman perched atop a crate play every top 40 song on her violin from a bench in Central Park. The air is sticky and the sky is washed-out-blue. We’re kissing and kissing. There are kids nearby, so we stop kissing, and then we resume.
I feel it in my bones, I get forearm goose bumps, I can’t stop smiling. I am terrified, and happy, and I think about what I might cook for him, or with him. I don’t know anything, and that feels OK. Maybe he will abruptly leave, but right now his fingers are intertwined in my fingers, and his skin is hot and soft, and my heart is so full I could open a tortilla stand, maybe even a tortilla factory.