Gloom. The sun sets before I step into Paresky. So early, and for what? Santa? The elves? The capitalist greed of the weirdos that sell blankets. Imagine that, you could sell anything, and you sell giant cloth. I walk into Pareksy, too early in the week. My ex-boyfriend, my one-night stand, and my situationship are sharing a meal on a Baxter couch. The grind is not done. Art history gets harder every year because they keep making more art. I sniff the air. Beef. It’s Taco Tuesday.
Oh, the first couple Taco Tuesdays elated me. When the sun was out. Dipping my chips in the guacamole was a treat. Sun on my neck, the chill of the green-pitted goddess on my tongue. But now, the chicken tinga is cold. Like my heart. Like the weather. Like my butt when I use the Zilkha Center bathroom. Now, on my walk to Paresky on Tuesday evening, tears stream down my face. Not because I’m crying, but because the wind is so brutal. In case you forgot, it’s winter. Winter is not just cold, it is also another weather phenomenon.
Now, in the cold, tostada shells lay barren on my plate. I can’t keep eating these beans. They remind me of when I could wear one shirt and go outside. I didn’t have to spend 10 minutes putting on a sweater, then a quarter zip, then my scarf, then my coat, then my little beanie that messes up my hair.
Now I go to sit in my Lee’s booth, taking off my beanie, my coat, my scarf, my quarter zip, my sweater. My hair is a mess, my Hoxsey hookup laughing at the bird’s nest I reveal. Trash talking me to his cuter friend. “Look at all those jalapenos on her plate. There are so many jalapeños, what the fuck is she going to do with all those jalapenos?” Eat them obviously. It’s not my fault. The only warmth I can find nowadays is from the jalapeno seeds of Taco Tuesday. The sun is in those seeds. Every seed gives me the strength to go another day towards the spring. If you have enough seeds you can build a little bridge between your sorrows and better days, better days in the warmth. Better days where I go swim the river. Feeling like a rebel because Williams sends me a lot of emails saying “Don’t swim in the river, it’s poo poo water, it WILL kill you.”
I shovel the rice into my mouth. Wrong pipe. Coughing. Rice spewing out like a tennis ball launcher. Pez dispenser in the booth. The darkness consumes me. Rice in the light is easy. Brown rice or white rice, quinoa, anything. I can do it during the day. Maybe this is all it is. One Taco Tuesday at a time, until the whole day is dark, until every day is Tuesday because you can’t leave Tuesday. Maybe there is nothing anymore. Nothing but Tuesdays. And on a Tuesday there is nothing by the taco. Tortilla tornado in my mind. I am at the mercy of the menu, the menu at the mercy of temporality, and time? Time is at the mercy of God. Is God even real you ask.
Well who else is laughing as each jalapeno goes down the wrong pipe, burning my throat, breaking my vocal cords like a child playing with a guitar.
Sometimes the only way out is through. So I will continue the fight. I will keep on coming back every Tuesday night, to eat a taco and remember that in thirteen Williams College Taco Tuesday [breaks excluded] we will be back to the right timeline. The quantum rift will be sewn, all will be right in the world, and you and I can cheers a taco under the sun.