I used to watch Return to Oz over and over. I always feel
lost when I see the Yellow Brick Road in ruins. It feels like coming back to
find your family home overrun with ghosts. And ghosts are unpleasant company.
Especially in winter because their bodies won’t warm you up, no matter how
tightly you embrace them, and they’re always spilling the cups of tea that you
so carefully made them. The tea has to be made just right, swilled three times
to the left, so that the future can be read in the leaves. I met a tasseographer
once, he always made his tea with bags. He said that he couldn’t stand seeing
his own future laid out. He said it felt like reading the last page of a novel
that you’ve only just started. He said it was disappointing and confusing and
looking ahead only would lead to trouble. Then he told me my future. Sometimes
I chew the leaves at the bottom of my cup, they taste so bitter and earthy and
I wish they tasted sweet.
I love to think about cakes I had during childhood. The ones
where all of the recipes have been lost but I think I could almost make them
from memory if I only could remember a little bit better. Cherry Chantilly Cake
and Lemon Crème layered with kiwis and red fruit, ripe and sticky with juice. I know that when you promised to find that café
again, you said it as a joke. You’d only find it in your dreams. But I had
described it to you so perfectly that I couldn’t help but imagine that you
would dream it for the both of us. Did you ever? I forgot the way I told you that
the plates were small, chipped, colored like the clay of the riverbed or maybe
it was the color of sand of silt of falling through the sky and everything
looked just so blue. And the cake on them looked so perfect like sculptures
like heaven like something meant to be eaten just once.
I sometimes run to the edge of the pier in my dreams. I
always stop though before the water. I think I hear you shouting sometimes. I
think I hear my parents calling me back inside. I think I smell cake baking
somewhere miles away. I look down into the water and I can always see the bottom.
It looks like tea leaves, scattering across the sand. I never fall into the