Monday, January 30, 2017

Snacks and Avoidance

"I read your book proposal," my colleague said this afternoon.

She is working on a book, and I sent her a few book proposals so she could learn the structure of a book proposal.

I knew which one she meant. She meant the Curse of the Hippo book proposal. The book I haven't written yet. The book I don't know if I'll ever write. The book about the complicated break-up in Uganda, the long recovery across Kuwait and Cairo over two or three years.

I chirped something about hoping she'd sorted out how to write a book proposal, because my assistant was in the room, and she hadn't read the book proposal, and it seemed unfair for us to discuss something my assistant wasn't familiar with.

But really, I was avoiding talking about the topic. What's there left to say? In time, you forget. You lose interest in the other person, his attempts to cover up his digital footprint, his path through life. When you stumble over the photo of him ten years later, you don't wince. You just snicker a bit about aging, something happening to you as well.

I got off the train at Hollywood and Highland tonight, so I could go to the shoe store by the Chinese Theater. When I was trying on Pumas, I suddenly realized I was ravenous. Desperate for food, I quickly walked down Hollywood Boulevard toward home, mentally digging through my larder as I walked.

Cooking would take too long. I'd stop by the Indian carry-out at the bottom of my street.

That's where it hit me again.

In the summer of 2005, H.M. and I would head from Murchison Falls into the nearest town, Masindi. I'd set my laptop up in the Internet cafe, launch Fetch, and start uploading my color files to Marvel or Gemstone. The connection was so slow we'd leave the iBook running and go to the cafe next door for lunch.

The cafe didn't offer much aside from fried eggs and burgers, but they did have samosas. So once a week in the summer of 2005, I'd have samosas while uploading files. And now, I can't look at a samosa without remembering that summer in Uganda, switching back and forth between Murchison Falls National Park and my apartment in Bbunga, near Kabalagala on the Ggaba Road from Kampala.

Tonight, as I ordered the Bombay Plate to go, I thought about Uganda, those samosas (which were too spicy to be honest), and Herr Marlboro, and how time heals nothing, but it dulls it to where you are almost a little embarrassed you ever talked so much about it to your friends.

The cashier at the Indian carry-out interrupted my thoughts. "Anything to drink with that?"

"No," I said. "But do you have a samosa for me tonight?"

"Yes, of course."

He fetched two samosas. Just like in Masindi, you couldn't get one. You had to get two.

I took the samosa home, sat down in front of my laptop, and bit into it.

Too spicy, I thought with a laugh.

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