A walk. An errand. A sunset. Drag queens. A street party. Live music. New friends. Old friends. Chilean Independence Day. An engagement celebration. Gourmet pizza. Cocktails. A regular night in my neighborhood.
It was one of those days where I had stayed in my house for too much of the day. It was time to motivate, get some fresh air, and run an errand. I dressed for fall: sweater, hat. A small gesture of acceptance. I grabbed a backpack and a bag and headed down the road to the grocery store. Errand: check. Fresh air: check.
A glimpse of community
On my walk, I passed a group of teen boys—students at the school I teach at. Once they recognized me they didn’t hesitate to wave and say hello. Quite sweet actually. I carried on past the local coffee shop. At a table on the patio sat alumni from the same school. They also waved and gave a friendly hey. I felt the warm fuzzies on this cool autumn evening.
For a long time, I resisted living and teaching in the same community but tonight was a confirmation that this is not something to resist.
I overdid it at the grocery store. Typical. Too many items in my backpack and bag but I took it as a cross-fit hybrid workout/walk home. I made sure not to bag the small blue plums so I could snack on them on my journey—as if I was so far from home that I needed a snack. I’m rolling my eyes at myself, however, they were tasty.
I sauntered down a different street heading west to change things up—see something different. I was caught by the site of the setting sun, golden and bright, warming me. The sun was keeping me on the line. You know—that thing that people do, showing up just enough to keep you around. It was like the sun was saying “I’m still here. Appreciate me.” I’m reminded that even though fall is heading right at me, sunshine is reminding me that it’s not over until it’s over. “I’m setting right here. Pay attention.” She wasn’t whispering she was singing and it was so pretty. Right down the middle of the road. Center stage.
But wait. Was she singing—the sun? No. Yes? Maybe?
She was being accompanied. Music was coming with the breeze and the rays down an adjacent street. Live music. The street was blocked off. A street party. I love street parties. The gears turned quickly—recognizing that my friend Kyla lived on that very street I tapped a quick text. Hey girl—are you having a street party
Sent. I waited, watching the golden light.
It definitely looked like a party
The songs were popular sing-along tunes so I sang along in my head interrupted by a car parking across from where I stood. Two (drag) queens got out of their vehicle, giants compared to me and very put together compared to me as well. Make-up, heels, short skirts. They looked like they were going to the party for sure. I didn’t hesitate. “Are you going to the street party?”
“Is it private?”
“I want to go.” Bold.
“Well, what’s your name? We know the people putting it on. Maybe we can get you in?”
Ding. It was Kyla confirming. “Oh, looks like I’m invited. After you ladies.” The glamorous queens led the way and my schleppy self followed grinning at my who-ya-know pass to the street shindig.
The queens joined their friends. I passed the children, the bonfire, the live band, the laughing people, and the street games—and carried on to my friend’s house.
A party and a half
Kyla and Andreas had a table in their front yard, tablecloth, settings, and cocktails. They had a side table with foodstuff and a pizza oven. Andreas assembled and cooked pizzas. Kyla went inside to make me a cocktail and put my meat in the fridge. I was, after all, on my way home from the grocery store. Who knew I would need a fridge.
“I saw you at the grocery store. I’m Shawn.” Said a new face at the table. I felt like I was on holiday, just wandering around, arbitrarily meeting people, drinking, and eating food. “You did.” I introduced myself to Shawn, Haris, and Courtney. Kyla came out with my cocktail.
We raised our glasses to Chile’s Independence, new friends, old friends, and Kyla and Andrea’s engagement. The next two hours were full of stories, laughter, drinks, and snacks, right there in the front yard. Although the sun had set we were not cold. A warm buzz fell around us—the neighbors hanging out on the street, with the children and the band playing on.
This evening would not have happened if I drove to the grocery store. I would not have had the interaction with the students. I would not have sat in the sunbeams of the sunset. I would not have made it to the street party, listened to live music, found new friends, and hung out with dear friends. I’m glad I walked on this regular evening, to the grocery store and back. Magic can happen in ordinary moments.
As always, thank you for reading lovelies.