I sit facing the Shoreline lake, some Orange Earl Grey tea brewing in a paper cup. In the new breeze, the water ripples like an azure silk sheet. Folded ‘sunflower-yellow’ umbrellas sway gently above the checkered green-white plastic table-covers spread along community style tables. As I sip my tea, three Mallard ducks slowly glide by in a single file, effortlessly. Jazz music fills up this pretty cafe near the lake, occasionally you hear bangs and clinking of glass punctuated by cheerful voices from the kitchen; the employees preparing for business.
Fat little birds scurry along the floor outside where I am sitting, huddled over my laptop, the hood of my army green light jacket over my head, looking sinister. The fat birds looking for tidbits are not scared of me at all. Near a sign that says “Do not feed wildlife” an east Indian man sits and eats a croissant peacefully and feeds some crumbs to the birds, the sign is behind him- I smile at the irony. Now nine mallard ducks sun themselves while bobbing up and down like buoys on the ribbed water. Far away at the edge of the lake a group of people walk with backpacks and sun hats. I wonder if I should join a group like that, I imagine the sun on my back, the scent of the foliage dispersing in the air as the sunlight hits the herbs and bushes.They always smell better in the sun.
There are only old white people at the cafe having breakfast. I guess the rest of the younger folks are busy earning a living. I feel a little useless sitting here by the lake, sipping my earl grey and writing. I dismiss this feeling for now to deal with later. It feels good to be away from the house, from the same walls, flower pots, furniture, dog hair, chores, the same sounds, the same thoughts. More than the taste of the tea I like the way it smells. I like the chatter of people behind me working, the simple joy. I over hear discussions about wine and food among them, while some girls arrange and open up the sunflower colored umbrellas in front of the lake. There seems to be a private party later.
Far away, the last thing the eye can see on the horizon are I think the green Los Gatos hills. They remind me of Darjeeling and how in the rare October sunlight, the tin roofs used to sparkle like jewels.There are tiny white dots that are houses on that hill as well. Back at the cafe, lots of surfboards are lined up near the shore, red, blue, orange, I make a mental reminder of getting some classes for JD, he had wanted to learn to windsurf but never got around to it.
A really brave bird keeps walking on my table looking for tidbits. On a mackerel blue sky a small white airplane flies.I’ve seen pictures like this on old Tintin comics. I picture the pilot in high spirits whistling, as if on cue to my thoughts, someone behind me starts softly whistling clashing a bit with the saxophone. The jazz sound lends the place an old world charm, far away from the new world of dub-steps and autotunes. Someone croons words I cannot understand but it feels soothing. I can feel my breathing slowing down.Now there are five to six fat birds all around me I start to feel like Snow white in the song “A smile and a song.”
Two men on another table are really enjoying a conversation; there is a lot of animated gesticulating and smiling, I somehow feel happy. A group of six retired men on another table are talking about something important, they must be the veterans of silicon valley, they are all white haired and look like wizards. I try not to overhear their conversation so I concentrate on the jazz playing behind me until all becomes fuzzy and incomprehensible along with the tap tapping of my keyboard.I like the murmur better. I’m glad for the sound of laughter, it feels therapeutic.A black bird with crazy looking eyes goes kak kak kak! It has orange tipped wings that can only be seen when it flies.
I have to go now, I think I will walk towards the big colonial house in the property. Small White roses with a heavenly scent grow there. The scent takes me back to when I was eight; the same flowers grew on the rickety wooden gate of my parents old house. It is no longer there; the house or the roses. Only in memories they are always flowering, forever fresh and beautiful. We humans like salmon, always go back to where we were born where we started our journey, where it all began.No matter how far we may have walked away, all our memories ultimately lead us there. Right now my hometown is in a bad way politically but when peace will come around once more maybe, I will build a little wooden cottage beneath the pine trees, where the mornings will be filled with the scent of roses and chilly mountain air.