I’m eating cheesecake leftover from a spontaneous walk around the block with Isaiah last night. The cheesecake is sweet, riddled with chocolate chips and the remnants of a raspberry sauce soaked into the crust. It tastes like the calm of last night, when we first walked down Polk because we like the black quiet of the university street. As soon as we crossed over to Taylor Street, we settled easily, without question or debate, on dessert at Rosebud, an old standby in the neighborhood. We were enticed by the outdoor seating, the perfect late-sumemr night, the white tablecloths and red globe lights strung from the trees. We sat and drank coffee layered with foamy milk, a thing we have been prone to do these days. It seems we would bathe in foamed milk if we could. We ordered two desserts even though we were both fairly full. We laughed and flirted and didn’t mind being quiet sometimes too, and we felt happy and lucky, I think. Or, at least I did. I felt the lightest I’d felt all day under those red lights with my big old piece of cheesecake that I knew I wouldn’t finish.
We left the house last night because we had to. The dessert date was an afterthought, a lovely outcome. Before we dreamed up dessert, we left because we were overwhelmed and ragged. There were seven teenage boys bumping around in our home, the home we are working so hard together to make, playing video games, dirtying all the cups we’d just washed, and shouting at eachother in Chinese. We were finding ourselves all of a sudden feeling small and uncertain and confused about how we got here to this apartment, this job, this life, this Sunday night. We realized all of a sudden that things weren’t quite okay yet.
Maybe this is all par for the course of graduating, getting married, and taking a sort of wild and uncertain job all in one summer. We didn’t expect placid evenings cuddling in the quiet, eating gourmet dinners cooked for only two with things like marscipone, arugula, and thyme. We expected utter chaos and a crock pot, which is what we got. But it still feels abrupt and strage and a bit unwelcome.
So, we bought $30 worth of dessert on a Sunday night. Reckless? Maybe. Delicious? Absolutely. Healing? Well, maybe it’s a start.
We don’t know what we are doing here. The job description is house parenting for a dorm of international students at a private Chrisitan school in the city, and the reality of it is complicated and simple all at once. I keep telling people I’m Snow White, cooking and cleaning for my seven asian dwarves. Except, they’re not dwarves, they’re teenagers, and they’re not all asian. Two of them are from Turkey! But the image still stands. And, trust me, they’re nice boys, but they aren’t quite as charming as Dopey and Happy and Sneezy. And my prince has already kissed me awake and he is just as tired and jostled as I am at this point. Maybe my metaphor is falling apart. But we are going to keep going. We will make our dinners and love these humans we have been given to love by filling up that crockpot and translating homework assignments from Chinese to English. We will live here and figure it out, and sometimes we will go out for dessert.
And now some tangible and non-cheesecakey things that have been getting me through transitional life:
1. FRIENDS on Netflix. ( I watch it while I cook. I cook a lot these days.)
2. Hey Natalie Jean, and Reading My Tea Leaves, two blogs that are lovely and true and make me feel more real
3. Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist, a woman who I wish I could have coffee with once a week at least, and cry on her shoulder sometimes.
4. This soft blanket, the same one that was on our bed in our fancy safari tent on our Honeymoon that we found on sale on the Pottery Barn website. It is soft and simple and perfect for making our bedroom an oasis.
5. Carrie and Lowell, by Sufjan Stevens, which Isaiah and I bought on vinyl on a shopping splurge day and have been playing on repeat on our new Audio Technica turntable ever since.
6. The Aeroccino Milk Frother, another splurge that has already paid for itself in self-care vanilla lattes made with our Aeropress and homemade simple syrup.