Monday night yoga leaves me feeling so good that I rarely want to go home afterward—back to my house of anxiety and wormholes, to the confused pressure that has become as familiar to me as air. The pressure to write, to order the chaos inside my mind.
Downtown Tucson is mellow on Mondays, so when I walk the three blocks from Tucson Yoga to the restaurant I always retreat to—Diablo Burger—I know it won’t be full. It’s a hip place but basic, serving organic Arizona beef and decorated on one wall with a vintage Vespa. The waitresses know me by sight and most of them have only ever seen me alone. I come without my husband, maybe with a New Yorker or a notebook but just as often with neither, and for 45 minutes I sit around generally acting eccentric. Or anyway, feeling myself to be acting eccentric despite knowing self-consciously that I’m so low-key that no one notices me. I root vigorously for the Suns playing basketball on the lone silent television. I close my eyes and lip sync along to “Mrs. Robinson” as it streams from the sound system, wagging my head in time with the beat.
I watch the conversation of a young couple a few tables away, unable to hear them but able to read in their body language that they don’t know each other very well. They are flirting, connecting. The attraction is mutual. Their words are touching on serious topics, personal things. When the waitress comes I compliment her on her ancient “The Empire Strikes Back” t-shirt, a paper-thin specimen from which she has cut off the sleeves. I adore the waitresses, young women all, avatars of a self I once was, more beautiful than I ever could imagine myself to be. Life is beautiful. Then I go home and I want to write.