Saturday, February 18, 2012

Going Away and Coming Home

When your shirt gets a stain, you should take it off and apply a product called Stain Stick.  If the stain is really bad, people who know about these things will have solutions.  Solutions in which the shirt can be soaked to regain its original fresh quality.

That's what Mel and I did recently.  We soaked ourselves in a solution of surreal aquamarine.  We took our eyeballs out of their crusty grey sockets and dipped them in three shades of diamond-studded Carribean blue.  We filled our ears with the sound of lapping waves and chiming tree frogs.

In Antigua our room had no clock.  We told time by the rising and setting of the sun.  We knew it was breakfast time when we heard the distant clatter of plates, lunch time when we smelled fish or lasagna, and cocktail time all day long.  No duties were required of us, and the only reason to leave a beach chair was to get another book to read.  (or another rum drink)

Antigua is a meditation on color.  We gazed on popsicle blue, snow-cone blue, Paralandra blue, the not-to-be-believed blueish green famous from 1970s backyard swimming pools.  Purple-throated hummingbirds drink from red bougainvillaea blossoms.  Yellow-throated warblers sip from our orange juice glasses.  Little lizards lounge with us in the sun, and mango trees bear fruit in the middle of the cemetery.

Unlike Dorothy in Oz, I do not want to go home to Kansas.

When we return to National Airport, our ears are clogged and we're struggling at the late hour to understand baggage claim directions.  It's unnaturally cold and the car must be found from a distant lot.  I am desperate to get to bed by 2 am on account of early morning appointments.

Then the usual route home shocks me with beauty.  We drive past the Washington Monument, and Memorial Bridge's brilliant night view of the Jefferson Memorial.  Kennedy Center is mirrored in the Potomac River, and we pass our beloved Washington Cathedral.

I'm surprised more by the gentle joy of familiar street names.  Upton, Macomb, Van Ness.  The sweetness of knowing that Jeanne, Linda or Andrea live in the houses we pass, and contentment as we park in front of the stone and stucco house with red numbers on the door, and come home.

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