I moved into a charming studio in January after a year of searching through numerous places. It was the 1960s quaintness that initially drew me, and the light that ultimately captivated me. Like a snippet of an unfamiliar song that I lean forward to turn up, I knew within moments that I was meant to unfold life in this space for quite some time.
My bathroom, candid. I kinda embarrassingly stressed about a perfect Q-tip container that kept eluding me, and how I un-relatedly (at this point in the story) and happily went on a solo expedition a month back. In Yermo, I stumbled into a capacious and storm-cloud lit thrift store. I was about to duck out when the owner, Ron, tried once more to initiate dialogue; I was in solitude mode, and his persistent sunny garrulousness melted the fugue. We ended up chatting for an hour, about how he and his wife, every night for the past twenty some odd years, have enviably slept under the desert stars in their master bedroom patio in front of their private lake. He spoke about the enigma of marriage longevity, how Mrs Knotts (of the Berry Farm) bought chickens for her restaurant from her hometown (adjacent Newberry Springs), how the bar in front of his place holds the oldest liquor license in California.
Throughout our conversation, I was distracted by little trinkets in my periphery, like the confetti of heyday Vegas matchbooks and the minimalist angles of a hand can opener. And in one unanticipated second - like being momentarily incapacitated by meeting a person that gleams with magical possibility - I knew. I pointed to the glass case, interrupting Ron.
"May I see this, please?"
"Oh that? That's gonna be pricey, especially around these parts."
"My dad used to scuba dive for decades, and he'd bring these home, and we'd eat them, sashimi-style. The remnants were always stacked around our house, and it has such nostalgic value to me."
The concave swash of luster was muted, indicating long-suffering patience with its secondary, exposed environment. I bowled the abalone shell in both hands, understanding its taxed exterior and nacreous dichotomy. It is the brokenness and pearliness fused in a single parabola that creates such humble, mesmerizing beauty.
With a few other items in a now thrice-used plastic bag, and a sincere promise to visit again, I merged onto the 15. Pensive and pert in the passenger seat, cocoon-ed in crinkly advertisements, was a future piece of me that I didn't even know I had missed or even conceptualized, but was just waiting for our time-tuned intersection.