This is the first of a running fictional series. Just something to nibble on when you’re alone. When you just want to stay inside, under the covers. When you could use a friend.
What I forgot (to remember)
She’s wearing a purple scarf with orange polka dots. It was one of those vintage-esque type scarves that sell for $7.99 at a discount store. Not a discount store where stuff is actually cheap, but a discount store where they only sell designer brand items but take off maybe about 10 percent (give or take) so you feel good about spending (less) money.
She walks past my table. The edge of her scarf brushes against my mug. And the cardboard cylinder, full of deep, warm coffee, topples over the table. My ex-girlfriend had a scarf like that. Blue. With yellow polkadots. I got it for her on the first Valentine’s Day we celebrated (together). Maybe that scarf was given to her by her ex-whomever. Or whomever she loved. Or thought she loved. Maybe.
I let the coffee drip. I should have stopped it from dripping from the table. Now I’m wearing brown pants with brown polka dots. And she’s wearing a purple scarf with orange polka dots.
Water trickles down my fingers. A cold splash splatters across my feet.
“You know, it’s colder these days,” says the man in the elevator as the doors slide shut. An astute but not particularly fascinating observation. Good fodder to feed silence. Makes for good company. Especially if you’re waiting to get to the 17th floor.
Cold. The nice thing about California is that the weather is usually absolutely phenomenal. No, it’s not overrated. It’s actually as phenomenal as most say. And when it is slightly dreary — let it be rain. Or fog. Or a breeze. I hide myself. I stay inside. I bundle up. I drink a warm cup of coffee. I ask for a hug. If there’s someone to give me one.
“Oh, yeah?” I asked. I don’t know if I’d have asked if he was getting off on the seventh floor. But we just passed the 10th, and I figured I’d play along.
Today, it poured. I didn’t have a raincoat. I didn’t wear boots: I didn’t bring a pair because I knew the weather would be nice here. I just let the rain drizzle in the little hair I have. I let the wind pave its way into my temperature. And I realized: It’s cold.
I’m from Providence. Over there, I expect it to be cold. In fact, I rarely think about how cold it is. I just know it’s cold. I just know.
I’m here, where I don’t expect cold weather. So when I didn’t know it would be cold. And yet I don’t (or when I can’t) hide myself away: I’m cold. I feel it. Unexpected, relentless cold.
When I was seven, my dad took me to the local bakery. Sam’s Sweets: The letters were written in pink and embroidered with white borders. Except the kids who regularly stopped by for free tastings after school had started peeling away those white lines. So it was basically just pink.
I had my first macaroon there. Pistachio. My dad and I sat there at the counter table, and we ate one macaroon after another from a box of dozen. I can’t remember what it tasted like. I just remember it being a very good day.
M. and I first met at the local ice cream parlor. I was waiting for my chocolate chip. She chose vanilla. Tossing her curls behind her ears, she told me she had a huge sweet tooth. How perfect. How lovely. I asked her what her favorite dessert was.
“Macaroons,” she said. It could have been brownies. Or cookies. But she had to choose macaroons. And that’s when I knew it had to be her.
Until I found out later on Instagram that you can easily find girls who loved macaroons. And ones who will even post pictures of them. Especially if you’re from the city. Like New York. Or LA.
I asked her for her number, so that we could get (macaroons) together. I can’t remember if it was her. Or the macaroons. I just remember it being a very good day.
Contact Inyoung Choi at ichoi ‘at’ stanford.edu.