I’m seeing white. From where I sit, this morning, I see the white rooftops of the apartments below, and they temp me to step out right onto them and play hopscotch: To leap from one to another, all across my neighborhood, while using pinecones abandoned by squirrels as my markers.
I see the off-white borders of that perfect little house on the corner, with pink-brownish tiles on its gable roof, where many times I had watched a lavender-gray kitten basking, rolling, purring in the hazy sun. Most certainly, that must be where the perfect life resides: Right underneath that pink-brownish rooftop with its off-white borders; inside the attic behind the snow-white windowpanes:
To the right, on the greenest peak of the mountain, I see the white of the Observatory reigning above Griffith Park; and it sits there — a lighthouse for the angels of this City — like a lovely mirage in the midst of this sun-produced haziness. And you better squint your eyes — from all of this light and all this idyllic pleasure — to take in the vision.
If I scan my squinting gaze from East to West, across the mountaintop, here and there I pick out the perfect whiteness of the old Spanish houses clutching onto the hillside. They are idyllic and absurd at the same time: stubborn against all of nature’s reasons. And if these structures persevere — past all the rains or the fires, or the occasional shivers of the planet, in this stretch of its skin — they decorate the already complete beauty quite well. Idyllically.
And to the left, I see the HOLLY of the sign that has led too many of the world’s travelers to worship it in closer proximity: A lighthouse for the dreamers of this City.
I swear: Sometimes there is so much odd glory in this town, I catch myself wondering if I’m dreaming, among angels.
A stark white dove has just dashed across the sky (I didn’t even know those existed, in this City), and it outraces the white bird of the plane with red markings on its wings. Both, I hope, are carrying messages of love.
I turn around: My couch is draped with freshly bleached sheets, and tangled up in them — is a gorgeous young boy, slowly waking to this perfect day. He is tall, with a head full of longer coal-black hair; and his handsome, tan face outlined by the morning stubble juxtaposes the whiteness of the bedding in such a lovely combination, it makes me wish I were a painter, or a photographer at least.
I rest my chin on the back of my chair, draped with an eggshell-colored throw, as soft as the fur of some lavender-gray kitten, and I say:
“You look so perfect right now.”
The boy raises himself onto his elbow, blushes a little — underneath his tan — and he grins. And when he does, a row of perfect white teeth glows against the sun whose rays are now bouncing off the white rooftops of the apartments below. He shakes his longer, coal-black hair and chuckles:
And I swear: Sometimes there is so much unexpected glory in this town, I catch myself wondering if I’m dreaming, among angels.
Behind him, hanging off the button-nose handle of my armoire, painted in shades of eggshell and white chalk, there hangs a white cotton dress shirt with a band collar. Its material is thin, perfectly suitable for the tropical climate of this gorgeous boy’s homeland. And while I measure his face against the background, I wish I could hear the sound of the Ocean punctuated by the beat of men’s heels dancing zapateado, accompanied by the mellow strumming of a singular Spanish guitar.
“If you could choose any other culture — for yourself — what would it be?” the gorgeous boy asks me, blinding me with his stark white teeth reflecting in the hazy sun.
I smile: He’s read my mind. And in the manner that so many of my former lovers have found evasive or mysterious — until they eventually find it annoying — I don’t answer the question. Instead, I ask a question of my own:
“What made you say that?” I say from behind the off-white door panel, having wandered off into my bedroom by now.
“Dunno,” he says, and he tangles himself up into the white sheets, the coal-black hair spilling into a halo on the white pillow. “I woke up thinking that.”
I sit down on the edge of my bed surrounded by the white curtains of the canopy I had untied this morning, and while staring at my brown feet, I say:
“Um. Spaniards always seemed to suit my temperament.”
And then, I laugh, to myself. The joy of getting to know someone is always so thrilling, most certainly. But the acknowledgement of my own being — my growing awareness of self — it relaxes my body with esteem and peacefulness.
While the gorgeous boy hums in response to my answer, I drift off into a narrow alley with cobble stones and cracked walls of old Spanish houses, and I see myself, walking downhill with my bare, tan feet. My hair is unleashed and the long skirt of my white cotton, lace dress swooshes sideways, imitating the sway of my hips: The lighthouse for my most perfect, ideal lover.
And I swear: Sometimes there is so much unexpected glory in this town — and so much beauty — I catch myself wondering if I’m only dreaming, among angels.
Idyllic. For now. And always so much more idyllic, the very next day.