The person I put out.
I recall that I was the typical little girl who like to sing, dance, and wear tutus. My mother famously blackmails me with a tape she made in 1989: I’m jumping around, singing to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” breathlessly. It’s a real hit at family reunions.
Although I still dance from time to time, I feel removed from that child. I am missing the curiosity and freshness with which I viewed my immediate surroundings back then. Now that I’m 28, I think I know it all, that I’ve been everywhere, seen everything, and experienced good and horrible times with good and horrible people. But even I know that I’m brashly presumptuous in that thought. There’s so much more out there than me. So many more interesting, fascinating modes of life and fantasy and journey that I dismiss too easily. I’ve really got to watch that.
Being back in California must make me nostalgic. I was born and raised in Southern California (LA and San Diego), but San Francisco’s not that far off. The eucalyptus trees are my favorite—the smell, the sway, the elegant bark. Bushy scrub oaks herding across brown hills. The occasional palm tree and wild succulents. And the figs.
I discovered figs at my cousins’ hacienda in Oceanside when I came back for a California visit at 13. A fig tree caught my attention in the sideyard, and my cousin plucked a fruit and popped the whole thing in his mouth. I was a bit more careful, tearing at the leathery, foreign flesh with my teeth—inside, the fruit glittered pink and red. It was so sweet. Earthy, as well. My cousin spat the stem on the ground and went off to find the rope swing at the canyon, but I stayed behind and bit into another fig, and unknowingly discovering a lifelong obsession.
I bought some Black Mission figs last night and relived that inaugural tasting each time I bit into one. My partner says his mother peels them first, but I rather like the initial pop of the skin at your teeth’s edge. I tend to focus on lots of sensations lately, as my jobless mind ain’t so busy. But I suppose it can only be a good thing, slowing down and taking in what I can before I get too cluttered with life. It would be nice to regain that surprise and wonder I felt as a little girl at simple things. Maybe I’ll start with food, an endlessly fascinating subject.