December 3: Beautiful things: what brought beauty into your life this year? Was it a tangible thing or something intangible? Tell us about it in detail.
I don’t know how to describe my life, because it often seems utterly bizarre, even to me. Airplanes and airports; luxury hotels; horrifyingly bad dates. Watching the sun rise over the world’s great cities from 35,000ft. Listening to national anthems of countries not my own at the start line of various races and major events. Seeing school friends I haven’t seen in many years for stolen moments over drinks and meals.
I often invite people to breakfast, because, as you may know, I love breakfast. I’m not sure others realise how meaningful this meal is to me, or whether they understand I am inviting them to be a part of one of my extremely intimate rituals. Which is okay. That can be my little secret.
I am not sure I could ever be in love with anyone who didn’t eat breakfast.
My ex-husband was Not A Morning Person. He did not eat breakfast. For many years, I tried to change him. I tried to get him to eat the tiniest bit of toast, or eggs, or oatmeal. But I think there’s no convincing someone of the importance of the most important meal of the day if he doesn’t believe it. I suppose that was representative of many of the other aspects of our life together too.
I suppose that strikes me now because this year, I was struck by the beautiful breakfasts I shared.
For instance, on Saturday morning in London, I met up with my old friend Tim for breakfast at his hotel. We hadn’t seen each other in nearly 15 years. We’d kept in touch, a little. And I knew he’d lived a life on travel for a while. But he’d seen a Facebook post of mine that said I was back in my second home, and he quickly posted that he was in town as well. We messaged that we should get together — and discovered that we were staying mere blocks from each other.
I am not sure there are words in the English language to describe the peculiar familiarity of having Home come to you wherever you land. But that is, generally, what my life is like. The moving, and shaking, and airport security is tolerable because the people I went to school with come to me. And are sitting in hotel lobbies, waiting with scrambled eggs, telling me about how excited they are for snowfall in Edinburgh.
What beauty. What grace. Here was the man who was once the boy who had joined Jade and me on adventures when I’d first learned to drive; who drove the canyons with us as Jade killed the lights in the car as I took the curves too fast. Who laughed as we sang:
She said why?
Why don’t we drive through the night
And we’ll wake up down in Mexico
I don’t know nothin’ about nothin’
And tell me why
Why won’t you love me
For who I am
Where I am
‘Cause that’s not the way the world is baby
This is how I love you, baby
This is how I love you, baby
We finished our meal on Saturday morning, and he and his companion were off to explore the city some more. I was out to do some writing and work before meeting D for lunch later in the day.
So it was London. Not Mexico, and not the canyons of Los Angeles County. But it was who we were, where we were, and it was beautiful.