You girls in sensual summer dresses:
You forever rob me of the reluctant negotiation with my parting sleep; and every morning, you remind me that beauty — is always worth waking up to.
I just saw one of you, from behind the opened shades of my bedroom window, walking your dog along my sleepy street. It is still that lovely hour of the morning before Angelinos, obliged to obey their hideous parking regulations, start crawling out of their beds to grumpily tend to their vehicles. The traffic has not wound up the common vibration of annoyance in this city’s air. Not yet. The sounds of perpetual Los Angeles constructions and Mexican leaf-blowers are yet to jolt us all with reminders of other people’s harder jobs and more strenuous existences. The ice-cream man: He knows better than to taunt my neighborhood’s children with his tunes, because the adults have not finished resting yet. Not yet. And the laughter and the thrilled yelps of those same children splashing around in blown-up pools in their asphalted backyards have not lightened my forehead from frowning. Not yet.
But you, my curvaceous messenger of beauty — you are already doing your part. Clothed in a single layer of a red-and-white halter top cotton dress, you are, if not teasing, then politely suggesting for my eyes to remain open.
And you are, most certainly, worth waking up to!
Your hair clipped-up into a romantic disarray on the back of your head is revealing a neck that could resurrect Modigliani from his own eternal sleep. And oh no! Your back’s porcelain skin should not be exposed to the already aggressive summer rays and equally aggressive elements from perpetual Los Angeles constructions and Mexican leaf-blowers. But I am surely grateful for it: That skin is so evenly white that the bleached sheets on the old Armenian’s clothesline at a nearby cottage fade in comparison, when you pass them. The high waist of your frock ends somewhere around your diaphragm, glueing and undoing its seams at your every breath. And the skirt balancing on your hips, like the starched Easter dresses on tiny baby-girls with frilly ankle socks, ends at a diplomatic distance beneath your behind. It’s long enough to warn me about your boundaries, but short enough to question my own.
Or, you, the spunky creature of last night, who served me and my partner with sushi and and all-you-can-feast of your healthy bod peaking from underneath the littlelest of the Little Black Dresses I’ve ever seen. I myself have been living in a body of an athlete; because with age, there surely must come more perfection. I’ve insisted on it! I’ve had to upgrade! So, I’ve peeled on the tight muscles of my calves and biceps; doubled the size of my thighs and demanded some upright dignity from my back ‘n’ spine. But on you, physical activity sits with ease and a little bit of a give. You are still all woman, unless you are the young girl — the teenage waitress on roller blades with a summer gig at a vintage diner — when you slide past our booth and make either silly or nonchalant faces that make me whack the table with my giant ring and scream out, every time:
“I love her!”
You stick your silly-lovely-nonchalant face back into our booth and quickly tap me with: “Settle down there, buster!”
Your joy, your youth, your hysterical ambition (for, surely, you got here to dream a little better, and maybe even to better belong) — they are contagious to the rest of us. That includes the blonde, aging waitress who could so easily be bitter and crass, had you not started the outright obnoxious Karaoke to the Madonna mix blasting above our heads. And the unhappy woman in a coupling squished against the wall would much rather complain about the iciness of her iced tea or the rawness her raw salmon, had it not been for the series of your familiar leans against her table while doing your job with flying colors: She’s got nothing on you; nothing on your joy, your youth, or your hysterical ambition! The lonesome Japanese chef forced to work on a national holiday could probably be disgruntled, or stoic, in the least. But you have cracked enough jokes with him — and a couple of bottles of Jamaican beer — that to him, to all of us, this is suddenly the perfect coordinate for a celebration.
And the boho-chic brunette shifting the hangers on the outside clothing rack of a Berkeley-esque boutique store: Is that a striped feather in your hair, or an earring? And is that a toe ring sparkling in between the leather straps of your Athenian sandals, or a fallen down star? And how is this long, thick-belted skirt, long enough for you to throw over your bent arm — how is it constructed so perfectly for your mixture of Zooey Deschanel and the young Kate Winslet? Or is it all — just another layer, your second skin?
The Caribbean import in a lavender slip-on who, like me, didn’t think twice about throwing on a bra: For it is so bloody hot around here, tonight and always! You are so perfect in your skin, glistening from the balmy night, that when you pass me, I pay you a compliment, up front: just to thank you for letting me stare at you as if I myself were thinking you up on a canvas. And thank you, by the by, for the self-assured smile you pay me back — just another detail of you-ness to splash with my brush, once I take you home.
You lovely creatures of my half of the race:
You heal and restore, nurture the resigned and the reluctant back to the living. You give without knowing, leave behind without minding. You resurrect, inspire, even if with a promise that is never meant to be kept.
You lovely girls in sensual summer dresses: Yet again, this morning — and always! — you are worth waking up to!