The Bus Terminal

I have to leave you behind at the bus terminal. It is time for us to board our separate buses. I want to be on your bus, but my ticket has a different number on it. I avoided it for a while by taking a longer layover, but in the end, I have a different destination from you. And the longer I delay my departure, the more time that passes before the inevitable will be clear to both of us: that I should have heeded my original bus ticket in the first place, when I realized we had different tickets.

You, who are kind beyond measure with my PTSD and dissociative disorder -I wish you were on my bus. But, alas, we are not even on the same busline. I will miss how you gently rub my head when I shake unexpectedly, and the fab way we baked that chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting from scratch in my kitchen. We learned the difference between unsweetened cocoa and Dutched cocoa. I still have that container of unsweetened cocoa we accidentally bought at first, not realizing our mistake. We planned on doing something with it sometime. But sometime never came, and now there it sits on my pantry shelf. It will likely remain there. I like looking at it, thinking of you in this kitchen, bringing it to life with your presence.

Aside from baking and a fondness for board games, we have little in common. Before I forget, please keep my copy of Power Grid, the board game. I had not played it in years. Let it live on with your friends. Games should be played instead of gathering dust in a study. I will miss playing games with all of you.

My heart does not yearn for you the way it should when two people are in love. We have little to talk about, unfortunately. I think that’s why we usually tried to “do” things together because we both knew, on some level, there wasn’t a connection, a passion, a love -none of that was there. What we had was a friendship, for which I hope some day can be revived if you forgive me for all of this.

I yearn for your companionship, but not your heart, and that’s why my bus ticket is different from yours. We’ve hung out in this bus terminal for a good while, and it’s been a lovely, but I should catch my bus and stop dillydallying. My bus ticket is nonreturnable, and so is yours. As hard as it is, I must wish you well. It was the best layover ever, but we can’t spend our lives in this bus terminal. It’s time to find out where our buses will take us. One last hug, but I can’t turn back when I walk away.

a single gal on Christmas Eve

What is one to do on Christmas Eve alone, but with want and means for a good meal? I adored the Greek restaurant near me, but had never dined there alone because it was very much a fine dining establishment. Ever since I received the email from this restaurant announcing their Christmas Eve menu that featured the traditional seven fishes dish I pined to dine there that night, but solo fine dining fear took over every time I considered making a reservation. Then, that morning, my director asked what my plans were for that evening, and I just said without thinking, “I’m having the traditional seven fishes dish at the Greek restaurant tonight.” A whole conversation then ensued on the seven fishes tradition, then I went to my desk and made a reservation using the Open Table app on my phone. Apparently, I really had my heart set on this.

Later that evening after work, I pulled into the parking lot, took a deep breath, and walked in. I simply said, “I have a reservation for Beatriz …” omitting the soon to be obvious fact that it was a reservation for 1. The young man found my reservation in Open Table, and he stated to his colleague that I was to be seated in the bar. I did not want to be seated in the bar for a host of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I do not take my sobriety for granted, especially on a day like Christmas Eve where I am all by myself.

The older woman working with the young gentleman pointed to something on the screen, I’ve no idea what she pointed to (in my imagination she pointed to my history of dining with there with my friends during the¬†week), but whatever it was it convinced her to change my seating, and she said to the young man that they could seat me in the dining room since it would be more comfortable. Then she looked up at me and asked, “Do you have a preference between the dining room or the bar?” In my most accommodating voice that I could muster I said, “the dining room if you can accommodate me there.”

And she replied, “Absolutely.”

I felt like I won some elusive prize with gaining admission to the dining room of a fine dining establishment on Christmas Eve as a single female solo diner. It feels like a strange achievement, though it shouldn’t because all that happened is that I have money in my bank account for this meal, made a reservation on Open Table and appeared for said reservation in a timely fashion. The situation was as simple as a single woman with the ability to take oneself out to on Christmas Eve. It’s that simple, and it isn’t all at the same time.

In the restaurant, there were no other singles present, not in the dining room, not in the bar. I was a bit of a novelty at first with the staff, but I found the more normal, at ease, and happy that I appeared the more relaxed they became. We had a potentially shaky start when my waiter asked me, “Waiting for one more?” And I gave him a friendly relaxed smile, and said, “It’s just me tonight.” He recovered quickly, and I could tell that my own demeanor about dining alone set him at ease as well. I learned if you don’t act weird, they are less likely to act weird towards you. Not a full-proof rule, but a good place to start. On this night, this rule helped me find my way to an enjoyable meal. I started with the traditional Avgolemono soup, which is a chicken, rice and lemon soup. The memory of the pucker of the lemon makes me wish I had some as I’m typing this post this very minute.

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The fresh pita with the spread of the day, that night it was roasted red pepper puree, is always worth the price of admission to this establishment. Too many times I eat too much pita before my meal arrives. Today I exercised unusual restraint.

 

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A bottle of Souroti Greek sparkling water in a marble glass holder can give you that chi chi feeling you may miss from having a bottle of wine at your table.

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The seven fishes dish was heavenly. I had to restrain myself from bringing the bowl to my face to drink the remaining broth.

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Towards the end of my meal the dining room started to fill up with couples and families galore. I was smart in choosing the early 5:45 reservation. I paid my bill, and presented my coat check ticket to the lovely older woman who changed my seating to the dining room. She asked me, “How was your meal?”

“It was lovely. I’ve always wanted to have the seven fishes dish on Christmas Eve.”

“Just so you know, we put our own Greek spin on it, so if you ever have it any place else it will likely be different.”

“It was amazing. Thank you.”

She touched my arm and said, “Have a good Christmas dear.”

Inside and outside

Yoga has lost it’s initial allure for me. I was taking all of my yoga classes from the same yoga teacher, Anna, a vivacious thirtysomething gal with long brown hair and a penchant for for eschewing the typical “yoga music” in favor of songs like Van Morrison’s “Moondance” or Kenny Chesney’s “You and Tequila.” Her music choices are odd, but they strangely work. Her goofiness is often displayed during her teaching, such as the moment she asked us to “put our hands together.” Then she thought better of it, and said, “Pancake your hands together. Hmmm … pancakes … I sure could use a stack of them right now.” And the class just giggles with her.

I found Anna after I stopped going to the “Gentle Yoga” class at this same studio that was given on Sunday mornings. It was advertised as “appropriate for all levels,” but, no, it is much preferred that you know what you are doing. For some reason, all the yoga teachers at this yoga studio are infatuated with the flowy vinyasa style, which is fine if you tell us that the class will be taught in this style. This teacher’s favorite thing was to have us flow from plank pose to downward dog. There may have been another pose in between those two. The flow was hard for me, but I was doing it to the best of my ability when all of a sudden I hear the instructor say, “Nope, nope, nope. We need to take a timeout.” There I am unaware and wondering what could possibly be wrong when she comes over to me, and says, “No, that is not what we are doing.” She then demonstrates for me what my flow should look like, but I am unable to do it as I stumble in my efforts with the entire class stopped and mouths a bit agape. She then gives up, and says to me, “It’s a learning thing that you need to work on,” as if stretching the word “learning” will hasten my mastery of what I need to do. Mean Sunday Teacher has since changed the title of this class to “Hot Yoga Flow.” Every time I see her I am tempted to say to her, “You didn’t have to change the name. No chance of me returning after our last interaction.” I’ve refrained because these days I can never tell if I say too much.

Then there’s that moment 3 Saturdays ago where we were doing the Seated Forward Bend in Anna’s allegedly advertised “Gentle Yoga” class on Saturday morning. There I am seated and bending, though my bend is barely a bend, but trying to bend nonetheless. Anna is going around making adjustments as she always does. I think nothing of it when she comes over, places her hands on my back and asks me to breathe deeply, and when I do she gently pushes me forward. At the time I thought nothing of it, but, for some reason, I am convinced that this is when I hurt my back. There is a chance it could have happened during another part of this class, but it definitely happened in this class. It was likely a bad sign at the start of class when she looked out at us, smiled, and said, “I’m not feeling gentle today.” Apparently, she also was not up to keeping the room at normal temperature because the temperature warmed up considerably, and I was not dressed appropriately for yoga that was warm or hot. Between the heat and the too far Seated Forward Bend it was a recipe for bad news. As I left the class I was incredibly sore, which made me initially unaware of my back injury. My whole body felt like a Mack truck ran over it.

By the next day it was clear that I had a muscle spasm in my upper back. The pain intensified as the days wore on until I finally dragged myself to acupuncture for relief. Four sessions later, I am improved though I still have intermittent twingy pain in my upper left back. It saddens beyond measure that this occurred in Anna’s class.

I miss yoga and hate it all at the same time. Anna has since changed the title of Saturday “Gentle Yoga” class to “Hot Power Yoga.” That’s what it should have been called from the start. I no longer go to this class, and I’m attending only her evening slow flow class because the class is as advertised. Even so, I am not entirely comfortable in her classes. I miss the way the right sad song, such as “You and Tequila,” in one of her classes during shavasana would cause a single tear to fall out of my eye, and right into my mouth. The saltiness of the tear was strangely cathartic.

I’ve started venturing out to other classes. Last Sunday I took a Yoga Nidra restorative class. The room was arctic, and that detracted a bit from the restorative aspect of the class. The instructor was neither friendly nor rude, a strangely indescribable affect that does not entice me to return. It’s unfortunate because I liked all the comfy props that prop you into a blissful state of being. More than that, I liked the practice.

Today I found a Svaroopa yoga class, what a fun name, Svaroopa! I amuse myself just saying the name. You use a lot of props to support your body in the poses, it’s safe for people with back injuries, at least, according to the brochure it is … I am late because I am a ding dong with getting moving on Saturday mornings. I’ve no good reason for my lateness.

Mercifully, I finally find the strip mall that has the Svaroopa yoga class. I walk in, and, literally, walk into the class. You open the door and you immediately are in the midst of the yoga class if one is in session. I was exactly 1 minute late, but they were engaged as if they had been at it for at least 15 minutes. I was mortified. The instructor came over, and kindly whispered to me when I could come over to join them. I then learned I did not need my yoga mat as the practice is done on a thick blanket. One could walk into this class with absolutely no knowledge of yoga, and still fully participate in the entire class without difficulty.

Unfortunately, it was very cold in the class, but I liked her style of teaching. I am catching on that cold yoga studios may be the norm in the colder months in the Northeastern United States. If I return I will have to become accustomed to her propensity to repeatedly say “inside and outside” during body sending meditation. I get so distracted by her intonation that it becomes a song in my head “inside and outside” …

Inside and outside I am lost in my search for a yoga home.