The ground looked like a big marshmallow, or an opaquely cloudy sky, or a pile of feather pillows, kind of like those mother was deathly allergic to. Her feather allergy was never a problem, except when she travelled, which she did all the time. When she traveled, she stayed in the nicest hotels in the area, but was never able to enjoy the soft, luxurious pillows.
Mother was rich and she was curious about the world, a combination that is very conducive to a satisfying life. She was rich because her husband, my father, was a crook. I haven't seen him in quite a while, though.
Anyway, mother’s curiosity had no bounds. She visited every city, village, and rain forest that she wanted during her life. She learned how to bird watch on a safari in the sub-Saharan Africa and watched the New Year strike in Beijing. Mother took a Venetian riverboat cruise, and she enjoyed watching wanna-be Beatles bands play in throughout Great Britain. But seven months ago, she suffered a stroke and died in her sleep. In her will, she left me her money, her raincoat, and her remaining “to see” destinations. The next trip she had planned was to Tibet, so that’s where I went.
In the wake of her death, I have felt very little sadness. As a monk, reflection devoured my time, and there wasn’t a moment for wallowing in sadness. Since coming home, things haven't felt normal, but they haven't felt tremendously sad, either. Today, seeing the ground covered in a thick blanket of snow reminded me of mother, which, to be frank, I would rather avoid.
Around 6 o’clock, I donned the raincoat and headed out for dinner at Sunnyside Up Diner. Walking in was a bit like walking into a hairdryer blowing hot air at full blast, but it was a welcomed surge of warmth. The diner was full, and I would have left, but at this point, I was almost halfway to my ham and spinach omelet. I situated myself at the bar and looked around at the customers packed into the booths like sardines. Sardines on speed-dates. Not interested!
After a few moments of people-watching, a man sat next to me. He was skinny, very happy, and ravenous, apparently. He started to ramble on about wanting fried chicken, his lack of girlfriends, rumors of apartment searches, and something about a hot box.
“You ever hot-boxed?” he asked.
He told me I seemed like the “chill” type. What does that even mean?
The man’s talking only seemed to put him in a better mood, so I let him go on. Once again, my time in Tibet was proving worth it what with my overt kindness and good virtue.
“I’m Legs,” he said. I told him my name.
“Like the chocolate factory?”
“Exactly,” I said.
“Do you have any chocolate?"
My three-egg omelet with ham and spinach arrived and I started in, hoping maybe the man would continue to talk to me. He was giving me a good laugh. “Why do they call you Legs?” I asked. As he started explaining, he also began eyeing and poking my food, which I slowly began pushing away from him. My patience for this man, who I quickly realized was as high as a kite, began to wane.
But his story, the one where he explained why he is called Legs, was well worth my time and the large portion of omelet eaten from my plate.