Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fire Hydrants

Last week the moat was across the street. Standing at the corner I could see five hydrants all open, a flood every block. And it stayed that way all day. Last week I put on sandals and went across the street, though there was nowhere to cross where I would not get wet, and I marveled that a city not known for its drought-resistance could gush and gush for hours.

This week, when the moat migrated, the same hydrant vented now to throw its river across the street, it was our block made island. I had expected the children in the neighborhood to take more interest, but they were unphased, drawn instead to the lawn by the recent acquisition of three pairs of big red boxing gloves. So I was alone when I took off my running shoes and sat at the edge of the storm drain, the water cold enough to turn my skin pink.

"Isn't it wonderful?" a woman called to me from the height of the SUV. I looked up and saw only the head of a very shaggy dog extending from the passenger side seat. I looked past the dog and saw the driver, still smiling. I agreed it was a sight to see, the water so welcome in its ripples up my ankle, and she stayed a long time before she finally pulled away.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sprinkles: Part II

They married on a Wednesday. Someone else brought up the walkie talkies. We were asked to ferry the cupcakes. The order was left in my name, not that of the bride and groom, and I said it like a code word, like a question, to the perky young woman behind the counter, who returned with a pair of bags. And then another pair, and another pair, and, don't go yet, another pair. They were mini-cupcakes, and there were so many of them, packed into boxes by flavor, the vegan ones set to the side because a butter frosting need not be chilled but a vegan frosting will come undone in the heat and so it goes right back in the icebox until it is ready to debut. Instead we put that bag, with the others, in the trunk and drove north. And though it had looked ready to rain all day, as we drove out of the city and into the pasturelands, the clouds began to lift. And at the wedding the clouds broke and the sun came through in fingers. And maybe they had blown away completely by the reception, when it was dark and the music was good and the bar was drunk dry and the bride and the groom had a moment to themselves, in which they picked through the last of the cupcakes.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Sprinkles: Part I

The delivery fellow knew it was the wrong door when he knocked. But he seemed nothing but relieved when we answered, and he hardly waited for an answer before giving us the parcel intended for upstairs. We didn't want the responsibility of looking after it. But then we didn't want the responsibility of it left outside her door in the sun for who knows how long? Who knows what kind of person sends an order of cupcakes to a flight attendant and whether they check her flight schedule first? So, reluctantly, we became cupcake-sitters. This was more stressful than you might imagine, though it was just for the afternoon, it turned out. We were just wondering if it was time to slip the big paper bag in the refrigerator, drop the first shelf down a rung or two, when our neighbor came by and collected the Sprinkles delivery her sister had sent. She didn't mention the occasion, not when she took the cupcakes away and not when she came back downstairs to reward us with two red velvets for our trouble. We assume the cupcakes spelled out something like Best Wishes, given that Dustin got a candy T on the top and mine had a candy S, and they were so delicious it was easy to imagine how you might eat the B and the E before even thinking to share.

Monday, April 1, 2013


Since the beginning of March, the grocery store has been selling cartons of cascarones. I lasted only a week before buying a dozen of these confetti-filled eggshells, seduced as I was by their brilliant hues and feather weight and the pictures of cartoon children hitting each other over the head. A week after that I sent the carton home with friends visiting from Oregon, convinced as I was that this was one of the better souvenirs of Texas, and then I forgot to buy more and then it was Eastera fact I was reminded of when I came home from work and noticed a modest splash of pink confetti on our apartment steps. And I was disappointed with myself that I had forgotten to restock what was so clearly a perfect and joyous thing. And then I went for an evening walk, and today I went for another, and I am so much more delighted to know that there are traces of dyed eggshell and paper throughout the neighborhood, for a mile in any direction. And I see now how much better it is to discover these traces than it would have been, shell-against-skull, to have made them.