As a child, I wrote my first short fiction regarding the adults in my life who disappeared at the ready. They seemed to steal away at their fancy. Now that I am classified as an adult, that angst I felt for my elders ability to come and go as they pleased is laughable.
Rarely can I disappear. And if given the chance, I can be ridiculed by all walks of people. For going out too much? For abandoning responsibilities? For showing my face where it no longer belongs? Aye, it is a fool’s list, and yet so palpable and so very exhausting.
Regardless of foes’ and frenemies’ perceptions, I have gone out once, twice, thrice, in these warmer months. My latest week-end wanderings took me to the small city along the river that is Peoria.
If you have followed along, you may know that Husband works evenings and has a tendency to wake up more bear than human. Weeks go by before we speak in even tones, and venture to any topic that is not consumed by bills and the wee babe. So we wandered to this small city with varying hopes.
As I sat shotgun, John Prine lyrics waltzed in my brain. One tune in particular refers to a woman the singer traveled with in an attempt to rescue their marriage. The verses featuring the banks and waterfronts where the couple salvaged what remained of their love-life mirrored our car ride as we crossed rivers to get to the other side. I kept my watery musings to myself. For I am trying to learn what it means to be quiet, to seek calm, and to not fill the air with chatter best suited for birds. Sitting there in silence alongside Husband, I cherished all of the people I have met through the years who were so good at keeping quiet, at choosing to listen. What a gift to all parties silence can be.
In many respects, this forever blue town by the bay offered us time alone to think, to hear the water, to hear ourselves. I don’t know much about the future, but I do know that this small city has its charms. This view outside of the hotel, for instance.
Another charm resided in vegetarian options at two eateries–one fairly new and one a local favorite. The new gem, Edge by Chef Dustin Allen, has made its home in a new block of shops and stores resembling a shopping center along the touristy shores of Alabama or Florida. As the day was muggy and hot, I felt as if I’d traveled to Gulf Shores for dinner with my family on vacation. A bit crazy, but the dining experience within Edge was just charming. Very attentive hostess and waitress. Bread and dressings galore. They definitely fattened me up before sending us on our way to the musical, The Book of Mormon.
The Book of Mormon was grand in vocals, in set design, in contorting hit phrases and stereotypes to resemble joke after joke only to bookend each scene with another joke from an earlier scene.
Honest, I would attend another performance to hear the vocalists once more, but the chaotic dance numbers in the second half probably would not allow me to sit still. Undoubtedly, the actors grew weary from the first half, but I expected more from a paid presentation of a musical that totes nine Tony Awards. Still, a great show overall. And of course I fell for each and every solo performance. I am sure all may be burned, tired, and all ’round listless by this stop in their tour as well. What’s it like eating dodgy dinners, laundering clothes in sinks, and sleeping all over the states for weeks on end?
After sitting through the show for a thousand hours, I ran ’round this small city’s brick and cobbled paths. It felt glorious. Tell me, does this small city resemble yours? I felt I could have been anywhere that night. Just free to taste terrible booze passing for cocktails. Just free to watch all of the bros and their counterparts gather in the only Irish bar for miles. Just free to listen to a ripe cacophony of live music and women laughing in their circles of circles.
The next morn, we went to One World Cafe that is worth driving, crawling, walking, hopping, running, unicycling–I care not–just get there. I had the most divine tacos and chai on iced chai imaginable (odd pairing, but oh so good on the tum). Methinks every single thing on the menu is delectable. Is it too soon to go back, yet?
Post One World Cafe, we followed this man and the two happiest pups in this small city (pardon my filthy mirror, bah). Riding sidecar to this sidecar was a perfect culmination to a miniature vacation where I tried so hard to listen as I yearned to be heard. What small city beckons you for a visit? What small city do you hope to revisit, to learn from, to experience fully free?
Whatever you may do, get lost, little doves. Just get lost this week-end.