How mine should taste
The closer to the heart, the quicker it heals. Joel tells me this with the tattoo gun already buzzing in his hand, just before leaning in. Nearby then, I think, and tell him about the bakery, wonder how fast is my pulse. I already had three cups of black coffee--one free with oil change from a generic-blend Dixie, one that I spilled down the front of my shirt on 36th St., and hurt just as much as the tattoo. One over half a vegan burrito (tofu chorizo, a puddle of mole, shoestring potatoes cooked mild where cheese might go) in a restaurant where cell phones aren't allowed. And I have a fast heart, or so said my doctor, who went out of business, but I've seen enough to believe in this observation she was dead on.
+That spot doesn't feel too good, does it?
-Not really. But I almost sliced the tip of my finger off a few weeks ago, and since then I've been trying to zen out about pain.
Chelsea had the breakfast polenta, and we talked about making Halloween mean something. Whether it was about butternut squash or baked pumpkin seeds, or how a typewriter is all a man needs to go crazy. Brittle cornmeal, two fried eggs tucked under molten white tortillas, a copy of the calendar between us. I taste the end of a polenta triangle to know what mine should taste like. On a Tuesday morning Hampden is like a vacant post-parade: none of the usual walking tours, just resident crazies and shopkeepers, a woman with a curbside sale neurotically rearranging the same Coca-Cola playing cards and imitation Tiffany vases. Boys with skateboards watching me feed the meter, the crisp stench of mourning beer and menthol and crosswalks. Ah, buddy. It would almost hurt more not to get a tattoo.
And after, down the Avenue on the balls of my purple suede feet, I convince Chelsea to stop in Ma Petite Shoe--a quality footwear & quality chocolate emporium, and ask for cacao with no milk. The Taza line is all vegan, the salesgirl tells me. I buy two round disks of dark chocolate infused with yerba mate, wrapped in unbleached paper. All the stores on this block are inside row homes, and we climb down the perfunctory 4 stairs to the street. We try out the chocolate--a grainy, separatist moment, with the sugar traveling first, knifelike, to the brain, and next the cocoa beans, and finally some dark shudder. The tea (so close to blood) and my skin already scabbing--maybe healing, but no quicker for its proximity to my heart.