The Portrait of Dorian Gray (excuse my jokes, it’s messy and has still has traces of bad British humor)
But speaking of Oscar Wilde and those Brits, I’m drinking tea in bed. It’s cold because I prepared it a while ago, but all the same– there’s a teapot and cup-n-saucer and everything. It’s a solid tribute to the vacation I just flew in from this morning, to the voyaging I just completed. I had made the batch of Earl Grey to drink while I watched Julie & Julia on my laptop, where I was forced to turn up the volume up a little bit because the rain began to pound on the window so loudly I couldn’t hear Meryl Streep cawing away French recipes. And I just love a good Meryl Streep sound.
But it’s off now. I had peaked over the top of my laptop and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror across the room. My face had been glowing from light of my laptop; I was staring at a ghostly white, relaxed faced girl with clean hair. I smiled at her, she smiled back. I hadn’t seen this girl in days.
And I don’t mean to say I hadn’t seen the smile… it’s just that I hadn’t been able to really look at myself in a mirror is all. In fact, when I did peer into a glass, it was someone else’s face I’d seen altogether looking back at me through the various hostel mirrrors.
Throughout the past six days that I’d spent in London, England and Edinburgh, Scotland, the girl staring back at me had never looked remarkably relaxed; she’d looked, well… enflamed.
Not angry…no, I must explain this right. Like warm, as if even standing still there was a friction going on behind her face, inside her head.
The girl I saw in the green tinted bathroom had color to her face; the shaking image of the girl (quivering because the train was roaring by and shaking the whole fourth floor) seemed to have a rush to her eyes. She’d flash a smile back at me sometimes, but mostly to quickly check and see if she had food in her teeth. She’d had some grease in her hair, so she’d laugh to the reflection of Genevieve in the far back and toss out a “Gross hair cuz fuck it, hostel life” and plop a beanie over it. The girl that stared back at me in the dirty, spotted, or scratched mirrors of our living conditions had always had someone else’s toothpaste in her mouth (thanks random Italian girls), or was applying a hasty brush of mascara over a face that still shined with of last-night’s remains of make-up-remover. That girl had been a mess.
But a firey mess. An adventurous mess. An excited, traveling, maybe-smelly-but-she-tried-not-to-check mess. An ENGLISH spewing mess (for the first time in a LONG time) who’s only silence was when she chance found a reflection, and awed at the energy of the girl staring back at her. Even when that girl looked tired, she looked amused. Even when her eyes said “four hours of sleep because that Asian girl was snoring all night” it looked like they also said “but how funny was it that you got four hours of sleep because that Asian girl was snoring all night?!”
So you see, I had been watching Julie & Julia to get in the mood of French cuisine (I gots a presentation coming up in my French Gastronomy Course on Tuesday) but after I glanced at the showered, lotioned, plucked, brushed, scrubbed, filed, glowing, calm Katrina staring back at me…I lowered my laptop screen.
I went a little souvenir-crazy this past week, but I had one gift for the guest in my room that was best delivered immediately. It was best if I turned off the movie to give it, even if it was only half-way through. And anyway, the softening pitter-patter of the rain on my huge windows would be the perfect soundtrack. The gray clouds in the sky descended to knock ever so slowly on my windows, casting just enough light to make my white walls bounce into a dusty blue. The air followed the theme of my moment—light, clean, fresh, soft— but the room felt hazy. I slouched until she was out of sight. I let myself fall asleep.
…For four hours. I napped for 4 straight hours.
So yeah, I’ve just woken up.
I just reopened up my laptop.
Meryl just squawked at me before I exited out of the tab.
I just glanced up at my reflection.
Just as I thought: same clean face, but with a new rested look. I definitely haven’t seen that girl in a while.
She also had something else. That squint. That squint she made whenever she has something to say, but doesn’t quite know how to say it. It’s searching, it’s hunting.
I know that face, too. It’s my writing face.