i go to the grocery store. every day, in some form or another.
there's the one i go to on 72nd with cheap cheeses and great guacamole. and the one on 74th where a gal can always count on a gaggle of firemen stocking-up for the week. there's the whole foods at columbus circle. and the one at union square. each with a fresh foods bar and stonyfield ice cream. and then of course my corner store on 181 that i head to daily for canada dry sparkling water. i go to frank's market on 187th when i need to pretend i live in a small town. and the ap across the street from that has those unforgivable fluorescent lights but, bless it, a decent selection.
and so i cycle through the stores. most often choosing the one that falls along my route for the day.
but yesterday morning i set my alarm early. got up, dressed, took the c train downtown, treated myself to an israeli latte and entered the grocery store of my choosing. i wanted the full experience. and i wanted it without too many others around. i wanted to revel in all that is a grocery store. i wanted to buy the mammoth box of clementines knowing i'd have to lug it nowhere but home. and so i perused the aisles, cruised the fresh produce, sipping my latte all the while.
and then i came across the flowers. oh the flowers. i picked some up, began to walk away, then quickly returned and replaced them. flowers are an indulgence i cannot allow right now. not enough money.
and yet i couldn't seem to tear myself from the little corner of greenery. 4 dollars. that was it. that was all. the cost of the little bouquet. the cost of the coffee in my hand. why not splurge just this once? and as i stood there i was struck by a passage i had just re-read in liz gilbert's eat, pray, love. it's towards the beginning of the book when she's talking about moving into her first apartment--just after leaving her husband, breaking up with her boyfriend. and she talks about painting the walls warm colors and buying herself flowers every week--as though she was visiting herself in the hospital.
she creates a hospice of a home.
and so there i was. sunday morning. staring at the flowers. wondering why we only allow ourselves such indulgences when things get really rough.
and the thing is, what i'm learning is...if i wait now, if i put it off now, then probably i always will.
so i picked up the 6 dollar bundle, turned around, and walked away. this time, for good. and as i collected my fruits and vegetables and nuts--all with my flowers under my arm--i could feel my mind spinning and clicking, a veritable rolodex up there.
it's happened once or twice before, i hit a pocket of space and time and i can actually feel--actually hear my mind sorting thought after though at a speed so rapid i don't dare keep up. it is a restructuring of mind. a realignment of body. sudden realization after sudden realization--or at least the promise of realization. it is elucidation. the body alight with insight. it is a feeling unlike any other--a vitality unparalleled.
the flowers are on my dresser. in my sanctuary of a room. in my sun-lit apartment. in a little corner of washington heights. just along the river.
because the time for waiting has passed.