Fallow Years

on the sill

Weekday afternoon, coconut water, Citibank, corner of Santa Monica and Robertson, stack of cash, minuscule check, two weeks’ wages, swipe of the card, talking to the teller, empty stomach, dollar store sunglasses, torn seats, fake leather, harsh light, in a parking spot where months ago kids, crammed into a car, swigged vodka, oblivious to the Sheriff’s station across the street. In a field next to the lot a giant neon orange jellybean seems to glow in the dark…I could pick up where I left off last week, crack the notebook, or, rather, one, pick one up randomly from the stack, get lost in memories and write, but a compulsion drives me to cram more avocado knowledge, go outward, gather as much as I can, in part, because avocados are harmless, far away from bartending, they provide an escape, ground untrodden. And yet, inevitably, I’ll go back to those notebooks. Because another part of me says to jettison inhibition, go over the edge, write it out…kept pushing, selling, pouring, sat on impulses to get out, and instead found consolation in “The money is good,” “You got to get yours,” save, head down, hustle, don’t stop, “Can’t stop, won’t stop,” “You’re on your way,” you’ll find it, “You’re living the dream, don’t miss it,” random quotes from random Angelenos…The avocado tree can produce well in alternate years, similar to humans, Cissi noted, and she asked if I’d segue into the idea of what those fallow years give us time to produce and create. What did they create within me? Now I ask myself, were those years fallow, a wasted decade? “No regrets,” I say, but, yes, the night life swept me into its dark current, not my plan, just happened. Money, memories that still haunt me, doubts, fears, questions planted and at this point I don’t know what they are… I saw a lot and it cut into me, plowed, harrowed me, dug its teeth in. Why, now, do I not open the notebooks, again? Michael gave me free license – he said to “keep writing as you are writing.” So, what holds me back? For whom am I writing? I’ll serve it as it comes out of the kitchen, like small plates at a place I turned down to work in the Meatpacking District, and that made all the difference.