Saturday, May 24, 2008

Marcie and Rainy Days (2) (R rating)

We were lulled to sleep by the steady little drumbeat of rain on our window and the street outside. Marcie curled tightly into me and was lightly snoring long before I stopped stroking her, turned out the light and fell into dreams myself.

I woke to delicious smells after several "attempted awakenings."

The scent of cinnamon and butter filled the bedroom. I looked groggily at the clock. It was only 7 a.m., but we had fallen asleep at 9, so I had been knocked out for 10 hours. I noted the blinds were down and the curtains were drawn, making the room a dark, cozy cocoon.

Then I noticed it. There was a plate on a tray next to the bed on Marcie's old wicker chest. On it sat two steaming cinnamon rolls, two cups of coffee, two grapefruit halves and a slab of ham, some of it cut up.

Marcie came in with a pitcher of orange juice and set it down, then jumped on the bed, sliding up and getting my hands in hers, kissing me down. My hand went by instinct to her ass, and she broke the kiss.

"Ah ah ah, noooo," she said. "You're going to sit up and have breakfast with me, then we are going for a walk. Then, maybe we will have some fun. And you need to brush your teeth like, right after breakfast. It's nasty."

She crawled to the end of the bed and sat, using the chest as a table of sorts, the raised tray just right on it, height-wise. We munched in contented silence.

"Thank you for breakfast in bed," I said, kissing her cheek. "That was very nice of you. God, I slept a long time."

She nodded and mopped some crusted cinnamon and icing off her plate with a bit of ham, something I could never do. I kissed a little halo of the spices and sweets off her lips in gratitude.

"You needed your sleep," she said. "You've been studying hard and you have been working a lot."

The happy silence was near-perfect. Something was amiss.

"Where's the bubbin?" I asked, referring to Seamus by a very early nickname.

"I trapped Seamus in the kitchen so we can eat in peace," she said.

As if on cue, a clatter of wooden dowels and the clap of a child gate hitting linoleum resounded from the kitchen.

"Oh, great, now we get a side order of fur with our breakfast," she said, laughing. "Speak of the devil..."

Seamus sauntered in casually, not really looking at us, then meowed as he slowly turned to face the food and peer at us over the edge of the service. I chuckled. We locked him in the room and ate in the front room instead.

We took our walk, up sixth to Balboa Park and through a place we both called "Squirrel Canyon," feeding the little beasties a very solid meal of peanuts and dried apricots. We languished on a bench that no longer exists there, kissing and groping, then made our way home.

We stomped every puddle we came to into oblivion gleefully.

We had just gotten in the door when Marcie turned to me and kissed me. "Let's go get some movies from Ken Video," she said.

I smiled and nodded, and the rain, as if on cue, began to pour outside. She grabbed an umbrella and, bundled in her big, down-stuffed parka, pulled me into a wintry, plush kiss under it.

We journeyed to First and Beech to catch the 11. Locals drove by, nervous and clumsy in the unfamiliar wetness around them. We walked the mid-day streets alone.

No transplants dared brave our storm, lest their vapid delusions of permanent sun be dashed.
The act of ownership of an umbrella was tantamount to sacrilege, it being the first sacrifice paid to the Sun God, San Diego. Owed on arrival, it was paid in haste and regretted in time.

The bus was abandoned and no passengers waited for it until well into Hillcrest. We sat in the back, her in my lap whispering her week's conversations and tidbits we forgot to cover the Friday night before, me staring happily and dazedly at the streetscape as it scrolled by.

We only made it to University and Richmond. Marcie simply pulled the cord and said "Let's go."

"I held her hand as we crossed over to the Ralph's lot. "What's up?" I asked, a little annoyed.

"We're going to get a movie at the Wherehouse and some groceries instead, is that okay?" she asked, looking at me very faux-angrily.

"Okay, baby," I said.

"Good, now shut up and follow me like a good puppy," she said, tugging me along by my hand. I slapped her ass and she cackled. I chased her into the Wherehouse. She rented "Tacones Lejanos" (High Heels), an Almodóvar film with Victoria Abril.

At Ralph's She bought three different cheeses, a block of feta, crackers, tomatoes and olives, tapenade and spinach greens, grapes, croutons and a number of seemingly random items, then two bottles of wine. We checked out and off we went.

I played grab-ass with my free hand and chased her out to wait for the bus, which pulled up just as the sky opened. She curled up in my lap and actually napped a little, then it was time to get off.

We packed everything away in the house and let Seamus out when the rain lulled a bit, watching him deal with the unfamiliar sensation of soggy ground, his paws shaking as he sniffed the alien smells of a less dusty neighborhood.

We were driven inside when a thunderclap scared Seamus back into the house at top speed and the rain came down in giant spattering blobs of water. We dried him and he parked himself in front of the heater.

We showered and warmed ourselves, but Marcie cut off any thought of play beyond the bathing and caressing.

"Go get the VCR set up when you get out. I'm going to start cooking and making our hors d'oeuvre," she said, slipping out of my grip and the shower.

"Moooovies and Caaaaaandlessssss!" I hooted in my falsetto.

She squealed, "You're so crazy, I love when you are like this," she said.

I peeked out from the shower at her as she dressed, holding myself and biting my lower lip, catching her eye and licking my lips, pretending to hide.

"You're a dirty man," she said, playfully. "Filthy pervert!"

I snaked a hand out and groped her as tried to slide her bra up. She squealed and left.

When I had dried off, I set up the VCR, carefully disassembling the rabbit ears and connecting the adapter. I checked everything and it looked good. The tape was rewound.

Marcie came out, hanging up her pink phone as smells began to waft from the kitchen. "Go to Kashou's and get some Amaretto Disaronno, okay? I want coffee drinks with dessert."

I did, wandering in the rain and returning after a 15-minute discussion of Middle Eastern politics. Marcie was upset. "Ah, I told him to keep you there for a while," she said.

"What?" I asked. "You told Mr. Kashou to spring a conversation on me? I thought I was late..."

"It's okay. Do you smell the stuff?" she asked, her smile belying that she knew I was salivating over her work already. "I wanted it all to be ready when you came home."

"Yes, but I have no idea what you made," I said. "I can't wait."

We feasted on baguette with tapenade and bruschetta and a topping of melted Parmesan, innumerable crackers and olives and cheeses, glass after glass of wine, a wonderful array of stuffed mushrooms and a Greek salad with feta tomatoes,a few red onion slivers, and spinach.

The movie was crazy. We both loved it and took turn stuffing grapes into each others' mouths when we laughed or chortled at the action on the screen.

By the time I had made Marcie a decaf Amaretto latte and myself a Crown Royal-Amaretto cream, she had baked a plate of cookies and set them out. It was well past 10 o'clock.

"Choc-o-late chiiiip!" I coyoted. "Cooooo-kieeees!"

"Ha HA! Hah!" she laughed, stuffing one in my mouth, which I ate messily as I stood there, letting chunks fall out onto the floor like a wild man.

I handed her the drink and set my own down. She sipped it as she giggled at me.

"Li-quor and seeeeex!" I howled, making her spew latte from her nose.

I helped her clean up, but her memory was jogged.

"I was so embarrassed yesterday," she said, coughing as she recovered. "The mailman totally heard us."

I sipped my coffee and shrugged. "He heard everything," I said. "That means he sat outside for a good few minutes listening."

"I gathered that, uh- huh," she said. She moved close, looking at me in her Harriet the Spy way, whispering, "Do you think he's a pervert?"

I kissed her and whispered, "Only if he stayed after he dropped off the package."

We finished the drinks, blew out the candles, put away the cookies, rewound the movie, and left the uneaten to Seamus's not-so-tender mercies, then went to the bedroom and finished the list of rainy day to-dos in fine form.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Marcie and Rainy Days (1)

A rainy day and some time for lunch reminds me of Marcie's love of murky, stormy weather and the patter of rain on a roof. I shared that passion with her, and it made for some wonderful moments. But ours was a lively love of the weather. There was no melancholy about it.

A gray day looking out from the corner offices-something Marcie would have loved!

Marcie was big on atmosphere, and even bigger on weather. San Diego's constant stream of sunny, warm, with the occasional cloud and a light breeze, 70s, was a rut to her. The same went for me. Rainy days? Now those were special.

I remember the first time we had a rainy day together. Marcie was smiling as she looked out at a darkening sky one evening from our abode on Cortez Hill.

"Honeeeeey," she said, not so much calling as calling my attention.

"Yes, baby?" I asked, looking at her as she looked out our window, checking in all directions, delighted obviously by the impending storm.

She turned and looked at me, wide-eyed. "It's going to rain!" she whispered in her odd, excited low voice. She read the Union-Tribune's weather forecast. "It might rain all weekend. OOooooh! This is perfect! We're staying in tomorrow."

I nodded and watched as she went from window to window and stepped out on our patio, then hopped in and grabbed my shirt. "Cookies!"

"You want me to get cookies?" I asked.

"Noooooooo!" she stretched it out, then fired off her correction in a single word, a pile of giddy syllables lolling about in her gleeful mouth. "WhatkinddoyouwantIwanttobakesome?"

She stood and bit her lower lip, bouncing at her knees and clapping her hands together as she waited. It was incredibly cute, and she was acting like such a little kid...

"Choc-o-late chip!" I exclaimed, crowing it in a falsetto that sounded like a human coyote cry. I rolled my head back and around. "Chocolate chip coooooookieeeeees!"

"Ha Haaaaaah!" she cackled, grabbing me around the waist and kissing me. "Extra chips!"

"Extrrrra chiiiiips!" I chimed in.

"Extra vanilla!?" she asked, her eyes popping incredibly wider at the quesion we both knew was more of a proclamation.

"Exxxxxtra Vaniiiiilla!" I sang back.

"Okay..." she said, letting go and stepping back, thinking...

"Cinnamon rolls for breakfast and breakfast for dinner?" she asked.

"Mooooorning all day!" I said, which made her slide back over and hop, pulling my hands until I hopped, too.

The floor was a trampoline. Seamus stared with a paw raised, pointing in confusion as he mewed ineefectively, unable to penetrate our cloud of inclement celebration.

"Candles and movies?" she asked, swinging my arms.

"Moooovies and caaaandles!" I bellowed, tickling her sides until she cackled.

She stopped me and leaned in close. "Wine and nookie?" she asked, breathing in my ear, lowering her voice and nuzzling a bit.

I nipped her jawline gently, then leaned back, howling at the top of my lungs, "Liiiiquor and sex!"

There was a knock at the door. Marcie turned beet red and went to our room, embarrassed. I opened it. There stood the mail man, smiling his oddly uneven Asian grin. He handed me a little box. I smiled and thanked him, signing the slip.

"Thanks," I said, noting the box was from Gevalia. Coffee! Just in time.

"Enjoy the cookies, Mr. Pruett," he said.

I did not have any idea how much I would. Marcie, red-faced, came out and took my hand after I closed the door. We retired to the bed and the weekend began.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Little Memorial Acts

I am, of course, planning the larger memorial. But as I do, I find solace in doing small things from time to time in memory or honor of Marcie's spirit and to fill the emptiness she left, not just with me but the rest of the world. I try to do things she did so they continue to be done.

Marcie loved the spring greening of San Diego, and loved to walk and wander in places that were lush, no matter how fleetingly. A canyon I found for her she never did get to explore, so I went looking for what she would notice. The following is a Marcie's eye view of what would have caught her fancy there:

More tomorrow, and more substance with it. Good night, folks.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Weight of Years

It is difficult to live here,
In this house on this street.
Where every little thing is a reminder,
and every little reminder is so precious,
but heavy on my heart.
I want to flee from this,
so I cling to it all.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Marcie's love of sidewalk markers

Marcie loved to read sidewalk markers. She loved to know how old where she lived was. She had favorites from 1912, 1903, McKindle & CO, Gearson Public Works, and any number of companies who would place a brand on the end of a strip of laid concrete with a date the path was formed.

Today, the apartment owners next door repaved part of the sidewalk. I knew what I had to do. Thanks go to neighbor Rob Wheatley for taking a shot of me next to the work afterward. Good on you, man. Another everyday memorial act.

Maybe someone will wonder who she was. Maybe they will know.
A few hours later.
The vandal.

She also loved the other kinds of marks, from kitty, dog and kid silhouettes with names and simple slogans like "NH rules" to pop culture reference like "Kilroy was here" and even "Redrum," oddly scratched in in front of a convent on Hawthorn, they all lit her imagination afire.

I hope they don't scratch it out. We'll see!

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Down Side to Nostalgia

As much as I love the music I have collected, much of it carries the memory of Marcie and events in my life with her so strongly that I cannot bear to listen to it at times. In other moments, I am simply comforted. I am currently on a ten-minute break from work, wondering if there is "More Than This" than to be "Back on the Chain Gang" and remembering Marcie as one "Few and Far Between."

I miss our "Glory Days."

Marcie's favorite foods: Stuffed Treats

Marcie loved stuffed foods. Be it a chicken breast stuffed with feta cheese and sun-dried tomato with a bit of oil or white wine to cut it, or a mushroom cap filled with alouette and baked with a bit of red bell pepper chopped in the bottom, a tamale or an empanada, Marcie loved her stuffed foods. Some favorites:

1. Twice-baked potato topped lightly with with cheddar, bacon and chives, sour cream on the side or mixed into the stuffing before the second baking (halves or deep skins)
2. Twice-baked potato with Parmesan shavings atop, garlic, green onion and Italian herbs in the stuffing (halves) Served aside an Aioli-parsley covered steak and cold salad.
3. Stuffed RED bell peppers (made by me) with Spanish or yellow rice soaked in a tomato puree with tomato diced with green onions, cilantro and chives in a red wine, garlic and cayenne or paprika reduction. Topped with crushed flax, almonds and bread crumbs before baking...
4. The same as 3, but containing sauteed tiny bits of seed-removed Serrano peppers and red onions, stacked on chopped rare-cooked steak in the vertical middle of the pepper and covered with more rice and then soaked in the tomato base (it all finishes in the baking). She decided she liked this hotter variant after getting one of mine she initially was grossed out over. 5. Stuffed mushrooms of ANY sort, any size, and almost any stuffing, especially featuring roasted peppers.
6. Stuffed chicken breasts: (a) black olive tapenade, fresh tomato and alouette with a lemon-garlic-sherry-pepper sauce on the plate. Asparagus side. (b) feta, green olive tapenade processed with basil and capers, baked covered and then finished with a quick broil after being rubbed with a lemon on both sides and spiced to taste. Served cut into slices over a simple olive oil-tossed, basil-and-pasta, mixed-vegetable plate. (c) the above wine-based selection.
7. ANY empanada will do. ANY empanada, from the standard beef to the chicken and the pork.
8. Tamales, including dessert tamales such as the pineapple, cinnamon and apple, and other sweet variants.
9. Stuffed chicken in too many variants to list here, but especially with pine nuts and garlic, bread crumbs and a mix of white wine and broth. She loved those ingredients passionately
10. Stuffed pork chops with crushed rosemary and apple pieces, and a creamy sauce that included sage and peppercorns.

There are more, but I am hungry... I'll do this again tomorrow.