I wrote this post the night before my first Fourth of July in St. Augustine. It was like my own personal renaissance; everything was new and unfamiliar. I had only been living in Florida since the August before and I was still trying to make sense of who and what I was. Everything had changed and I wasn’t really sure who “Anna” was any more. Five years later, I still relish defining who she is.
I step out of my door and inhale Florida – all the musty warmth, the tropically gaudy smells mingling of dead and growing flowers. I imagine I smell salt on the air, even though the ocean is almost a mile away. The same ocean that I have dreamt of living near my whole life. I am here at last. I feel like I ought to celebrate, though there are no fireworks tonight.
I step out in my oldest, washed to thinness t-shirt, in a vivid red that I know clashes with my hair. The same hair that is pulled back in an untidy ponytail. Flip-flops and jeans that are cut, really, for smaller hips than mine – more Venus Williams than Venus de Milo. And yet, despite my awareness that this is hardly a shining moment of attractiveness, I feel more me than I have in awhile. Not in pearls and suit to impress a client. Not in little black dress and heels to please a boy. I shed my skins of elegance and sexiness, cleverness and intellect. Tonight, I only have to please me.
I step out and return with a sack of Krystals (the fairly subpar White Castle alternative in Florida), the grease soaking softly through the bottom of the sack. I eat them while perched on my stool, likely chewing with my mouth open, barefoot and reading Transmetropolitan. My favorite opera aria is playing on the stereo. Sometimes I forget what it’s like to hang out with me; I spend so much time with others. I am blissfully boring tonight. For a bare handful of hours, I am not a punchline or a sexpot or a muse or a saleswoman. I am not a girlfriend or a daughter or a friend or an employee.
I am just me and, thankfully, there are no fireworks tonight.