Tuscan gold

  • Aperture: f/9
  • Focal Length: 35mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter: 1/160 sec
  • Camera: NIKON D80

Las Colinas, Texas

Crank the stereo and slide the sunroof open. Roll down the windows and smoke a cigarette while the car warms up. It shuts off otherwise. Find a good song. Not that one. Not that one either.

Take a right on Esters, past the hotel dumpsters, past the cranberry crape myrtles in bloom everywhere this time of year in Texas. Careful, careful, slip out onto 114 East (not west, not west!) and blend into the whitewater rapids of Ford F150s and Camrys. Breathe and smile at the girl in the rear-view mirror, hair glinting in the fiery orange of the setting sun. Free and wild, beautiful light, is there anything better?

Watch the exits. Belt Line Road. President George Bush Turnpike. Walnut Hill Lane, Macarthur Boulevard. Here we go: O’Connor/Wingren. That wasn’t so bad, kiddo. We’re getting good at this stuff. Ah jeez, that guy totally cut me off! Um. Okay then. Heads up, kid, we’re not there yet. Pay attention. Good lord, the light is gorgeous this evening.

Take a right on O’Connor at the infamous flower-strewn sign. To the left the lovely Mustangs of Las Colinas sculpture. To the right, the sleepy canal, winding its way through the backyards of Irving’s most wealthy apartment dwellers.

Oh holy hell. The sun is setting on adobe walls, sliding down terracotta tiles, lingering over climbing roses, splashing onto the cobblestone and pouring gold as far as the eye can see. There is a store that sells cold Evian and Pellegrino, Indonesian kreteks and fresh-made tabouli. There is a sloe-eyed girl perched on a red stool at the counter, gazing out the window at a boy only she can see. There is the scent of curry wafting on the still warm breeze, and the faint hint of rain to come.

I stop a moment and run my fingertips along the checkered bistro tiles, pressing my nose to the window and imagining I’m in Italy. I didn’t get lost today. I’ve learned how to ask for what I need. How to humble myself and say This. This is what will help me. This. This is where I am. And here. Here is where I wish I were headed.

Sometimes admitting where you want to be gets you exactly where you want to go — standing in a pool of sunshine, light pouring like a Vermeer painting, heart beating Yes, yes, oh my god yes.

Music: Bottle It Up by Sara Bareilles (lyrics)

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