Up where the air is clear

April 29, 2002

if you ask me how we got there, i couldn’t tell you. my eyes were shut the whole way. once or twice, someone would ask, “is christine asleep?”

“no,” i’d mutter. and then i’d adjust my pillow and drift back into semi-consciousness.

i only opened them when i heard paul tell chris we missed the turn. we spun back around and approached a street i’d been down a dozen times. suddenly, i was 16, riding in a bus that shook with teenage voices and hormones, on my way to a church retreat.

from our porch, i could see the fence i climbed, the fence that led up the mountain and guarded the lake, the lake where we skipped rocks with boys who caught our eyes.

car sick circa 1970 mr. bluebird on my shoulder

outside, the clouds hung low. inside, the lamp was just as dim.

we sat on ratty couches, played board games, sipped cranberry juice concoctions and listened to the hip-hop hits of the ’80s. we made fun of cosmo, but read it anyway. we walked and walked and walked, met a bookstore owner from austria, walked and walked, bought some trinkets from a leather good shop, walked some more, and laughed so hard i thought my cheeks would explode. we watched almost famous until the scene where kate hudson tells patrick fugit about morocco and he scurries away because we couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer. i climbed up to the top bunk and slid inside my sleeping bag.

sunday morning, i saw a bluebird, just a few shades darker than the sky. you don’t see birds like that in the city. had i not been looking closely enough, i might have missed it entirely.


  • I'm Christine, and this is a slice of my life—a sweet, rich, wildly indulgent slice that would taste really good with a scoop of Breyers vanilla bean ice cream. Read more >>

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