Make no mistake--I'm still eating. Last night, I cooked for the girl I'm going around with and a girl who I'm such friends' friends with. Delicata squash stuffed with cinnamon-baked apples. Raw kale salad with garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and brown rice miso. Polenta simmered shapeless in vegetable stock and baby bellas. And then antipastis Alix and I picked out, preciously, too excited to stop: Green fat olives, sundried tomatoes, organic mozzarella, pesto-asiago bread. Val is a health-head who can't be in the land of our cigarette smoke without commenting, and Alix was wild-eyed, just having woken up from a two-hour nap that should have been eight. The cat, Domino, was the only creature totally comfortable, and when she became curious about my plate, I shredded some squash and left it low for her to pick at.
It's the first meal coming back into this groove. For a while, we forgot how to cook in Baltimore--for the slow, sharp winter months we only knew that we couldn't be home for long, and we couldn't stand outside. So we established ourselves as regulars at a cafe humming with colors and a tight-knit staff who tell us what's what. When I craved something outside of myself, I ordered taco salad, and Jill just shook her head in refusal. "No, you don't want that," she told me.
But now it's getting warmer, though if spring in Baltimore gets any more maudlin they may as well stick a feather in its cap and call it January all over again. It's getting warmer and, uprooting ourselves from thawed ground, we realize we have hands again. We realize that when we eat we're the ones eating and so we may as well make something of it. We've been using up refrigerator leftovers--Alix and I ate leftover bagels from my job with vegan cream cheese and California veggie burgers. "Something," I said. "Something tastes ever so slightly of garbage."
But there are moments of our old triumph. Sleep has become sporadic, a habit, kind of like flossing. In some twenty year olds there is a terror that if you go to sleep, you will miss something. So we've been catching it where we can, and in the silence following a nap, Alix came to the side of the bed and woke me saying, "Lily. There's chocolate cake, Lily," and I came to the kitchen thunder-headed and still dropping with sleep, to a triangle of plain chocolate cake and a glass of water, and I'm learning (for these moments) how to say Salud in as many languages as I can find.