I met Kate at a poetry slam at Casa Cantina in Athens, when we were undergraduates at Ohio University. We were the kind of people you’d find at a poetry slam in an Athens hippie co-op bar. We became instant friends as we breathlessly confessed every book we both loved, every CD we both owned, every crunchy-crafty hobby we shared.
“Chicken! Fingers!” Jen exclaims loudly, her finger jabbing the menu, as she glares up at our server. This is America, we speak American? No, this is Moscow, 1998. We speak … whatever the hell we want, apparently. We’re in the center of the city in a café so accommodating that each menu item is printed in Russian, German and English.
My annual January visit to Santa Fe to cavort with Sarah, my best friend from graduate school, carried more significance this year. Not just because the sepia-toned landscapes, crisp mountain air and crazy-blue-bright skies excite and relax me at the same time but also because, following a riotous autumn, I had some answers I needed to torture out of my own treacherous heart, and that traitor required nothing short of extraordinary rendition.
My Facebook status on Jan. 8: "I drove home calmly and safely, keeping the RPMs low as I navigated the steep hills. I stepped into enormous silence, so brilliantly alone, with the snow moving, but seeming so still all around me. I opened my mouth to taste and to let out a deep laugh. A perfect moment: I am grateful for this solitude."