Monday, August 26, 2013

In the last light

In the last light of the day, I kiss Mom’s cheek and board the bus with a bag of groceries in each hand.  The bus lurches and winds through lazy Sunday streets and I rest with my gaze bobbing along the pages of a book.  From somewhere or someone on the bus, the acrid scent of beer and body odor curls inside my nostrils, settling all the way down where my stomach begins a surge of revolt.  I read until I have to close my eyes.

In the last light of the day, I rise from my seat with two heavy weights and I, the unbalanced scale, now disembark downtown.  On an escalator I descend, beneath the city streets, amidst soccer fans with blue and green scarves on their way to the stadium.  University Street, Pioneer Square and Chinatown, we pass through tunnel to fading light, through the near deserted backbone of industrial streets and muraled backs of buildings with their painted frozen stares.   Past the towering red and white Franz bread sign and the empty hub of lightrail train cars. 

In the last light of the day, I straddle a bag on each shoulder down the stretch of stairs, taking in shallow breaths of marijuana around still queasy stomach.  I pass a lone man doubled over sleeping with his head in hands on the rounded concrete bench, his outdoor living room eerily quiet, littered with empty wrappers, bottles and packages.  I climb the ramp that winds above the place where he rests, above the stench of urine stained sidewalks.  On the other side of the street, a black fireman pokes his head out of the station and flashes white teeth and a friendly greeting, and I smile.  With each block behind me, the air feels less heavy, the homes with less windows barred, plots of earth overflowing with vegetables and flowers and tangled vines of fading blackberries. 

In the last light of the day, I reach our darkened, quiet apartment, greet the plants outside with water from an old milk jug.  I empty grocery sacks and arrange food for tomorrow’s lunch and peel soft bananas for a batch of hearty cookies, the recipe from an index card in my sister’s handwriting.  My stomach slowly settles as the kitchen fills with baked bananas, oats, cinnamon and almond butter.  And I sit down in the quiet with a glass of milk, a warm cookie and a Mexican cookbook open to pollo enchilado, my thoughts at last settling in this space of quiet.

In the lamplight, when all the day’s light is gone, I lay in bed with a book and listen - to the mournful howl of a dog, an engine revving, the creaking floorboards above, an airplane thundering through darkened skies, the rustle of a gentle breeze, the inner gurgles of my stomach.  And I wait for God, only to see that he’s already been here, the last rays of light surging through the cracks of this day - this journey home - glowing embers through the night till morning births again.

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The prompt to write about "last" this past Five-minute Friday over at Lisa-Jo's inspired this post, and though it (as usual lately) does not fit within five minutes, here it is.   


  1. this is worship, friend.
    this listening to the ordinary moments of life and sensing that in them is a ring of eternity.

    i am better for having read this. thank you.

  2. Oh, honey. The ways you tell the gritty real with the light peeking's a gift. You make me want to look right at the hard stuff and see the beautiful happening right there along with it. I love you and your words. I'll write you more really soon.

  3. beautiful post. So vivid. Thanks for sharing, and i am so glad you are my FMF neighbor this week!