SUBMISSION (we can’t help but share this inspiring story today, even though it’s not #SubmissionFriday):
It was at the SFMOMA I found myself yesterday, after I had walked hand-in-hand with my best friend to the BART system and then back, by myself. I had taken a trip to San Francisco because my best friend told me a few days ago that he would be gone for a few months – gone away to South Africa. No matter how happy I was for him, at the moment that he told me I was miserable. It hit me all of a sudden how much I have come to count on him, and now we would have next to no contact for ninety days. (If you knew him, with his hair he keeps tied back and his ready grin and his too-big shoes and his reading glasses, you would want him to stay longer, too.) So, I came to San Francisco. We met at a coffee house, walked to the MOMA, and then went to the Yerba Buena gardens to lay in the sun for a few hours. That was all we had.
And after we had said goodbye, I walked to the place I have come to count on: the Caffe Museo. I stood there, looking up at the menu, looking a little lost and a lot lonely, and I could not decide what I wanted. Then I saw the “Seasonal Fruit Crisp” for $6, and knew that that was what I needed. My mom makes apple crisp (especially if I am crying because I am in love with the boy I call my best friend) – it is our family comfort food. I ordered one and then took it to a little table. I sat for a few minutes watching the other people ordering and sitting down, and felt only a slight pang of sadness that they were sitting down with someone. All at once, it hit me: I got to be a girl alone in the city. I could be brave. I was wearing a too-big t-shirt and combat boots, and I was alone and I was brave. I smiled and started to eat the fruit crisp, and oh, it was perfect. I was happier instantly, since I was sitting in this room, surrounded by so many people, and no one knew me. Nobody knew me – but the art knew me.
I could hear them all – Rothko, Pollock, Klee – calling to me. They welcomed me back with cries of color and were not angry that it was him I went to see first. I sat there for another few minutes, finishing my fruit crisp. It was warm and sweet and tasted like summertime, and it left its flavor on my lips for a while. I stood up to leave, and wait! they cried. Come back! “We’ll have tea!” O’Keeffe said. “But what is your opinion on my use of color, does it not delight you?” asked Matisse. (Dalí cared not at all whether I came or went, and Pollock seemed to know that I would go, regardless.) “I can’t,” I said, smiling. “Why not?” they wondered. And when I whispered it was because my heart was breaking, they were silent. And then they opened themselves up to me as they had done so many times before, pouring themselves into me, giving me strength. Filling me with so many shades of color I could stand up again and go on.