Not complaining. Just in this kind of delirious sort of sleepy way. It's also been a week of really good things, amazing conversations in amazing places, new adventures, old friends and new friends, and incredible amounts of love from so many directions.
It's just that when life is happening so fast and hard and racing, is when you don't get to update.
I went to Philadelphia on Friday to meet rainy_day.
I don't know how it happens, when you see someone so rarely, and then when you do get to see them for extended periods of time, everything is perfect. I mean, it's not ordinary life. It's adventures. But I adore every minute of them and I want to have another one soon, even though it seems like that's going to have to wait a couple months.
FATE CONSPIRING TO KEEP US APART.
Anyway. I got to Philly and Brenna had gone to a gluten-free bakery and bought two cupcakes and four cake pops. We went out to dinner at a sushi restaurant that looked like it was someone's grandma's basement, and then we got our dessert and went walking in search of a park.
It started to drizzle, and we were close to the Franklin Institute, where a tent was set up for an event that week. There was a platform in the tent, so we went inside and sat on the platform and ate our desserts.
As we ate, the rain swelled from a light pitter patter to a full-fledged torrential thunderstorm, with lightning cracking across the sky and turning it pink and purple and glorious. We sat and ate our desserts and watched the lightning and it was beautiful.
The wind picked up, and we started to get concerned that the tent might get knocked over, so we raced across the street, Brenna in bare feet, to the overhang of the Franklin Institute building. We sat on the dry stone staircase and looked out from between the columns at the storm and the city and it was one of those things you never expect to do, could never plan, that was so utterly perfect that I keep mentally summoning the feeling of emotional satiety I had at that moment.
We eventually gave up on the rain letting up, managed to get a cab back to the hotel, and went to bed.
Brenna got up ludicrously early the next morning to get us tickets for Independence Hall. I've been there multiple times, but Brenna had not and it was the one thing she really wanted to do. I met up with her and we went to the Mütter Museum, which is one of my favorite things in Philadelphia. We looked at all the medical anamolies and listened to a long, not very good poem about a rare bone disease. We both very nearly bought things in the gift shop, and then left to get lunch before our tour.
We were practically chased down the street by a very awkwardly uncomfortable man who was very angry that we did not want to take his lunch recommendation after we asked a woman working for a museum for her lunch recommendation. We ended up finding a pretty cute place that gave us entirely too many tater tots, and then we went to Independence Hall...
Brenna was singing and reciting bits of 1776 the entire way, which was wonderful. I don't really remember the musical since the last time I saw it was in the eighth grade, but it was pretty splendid. One of the wonderful things about Brenna is that she sings everywhere she goes, recognizes a ton of songs and knows a ton of lyrics-- certainly more than I do-- so everything is musical.
We had a really fabulous park ranger for our tours at Independence Hall, and we chatted with her at length.
Being around Brenna and doing touristy things makes me consider what life would be like if I became a park ranger. They seem like such amazing people, all the ones we've met have been so lovely and knowledgeable and just really interesting people. I want to know them all!
We were meant to meet my friend Alison for dinner, but in true Alison fashion, she fell asleep, which is okay, because I love her anyway. We didn't know where she was, though, so we went for gelato while we waiting for her to text, and on our way, we stopped in Macy's.
The Philadelphia Macy's is the most utterly surreal department store I have ever seen. It has an organ in it. A giant pipe organ, with pipes that adorn a full wall of the store, dizzying and vertigo-inducing in their way. And there is a massive statue of an eagle. And I don't know what else, but I would never have thought to look inside another city's Macy's, and I am so glad we did.
Then when it became evident that Alison wasn't texting back-- I told Brenna she was probably asleep, since this is something I know about Alison from college-- we went to a cheap Indian restaurant with a buffet. We didn't order the buffet, though, we ordered off the menu, and proceeded to engage in an absolutely wonderful experiment called The Worst Date Ever.
We sat across the table from each other playing Candy Crush Saga on our respective phones, not talking at all. When we stopped, because our batteries were dying, we asked stilted questions, like "So, what do you do?" "Do you come here often?"
Then Brenna started kicking me under the table. I said it was the best worst date ever, and Brenna said it would be even better when she ran out and left me with the check.
Sadly, it did not ever get that bad. Instead, we went to a beer bar I went to back when I volunteered for the Obama campaign in 2008, and got a couple of beers (Brenna had some cider), and totally lucked out walking into a very crowded bar just when two seats cleared.
Alison texted to apologize and say she'd fallen asleep, and I assured her that I'd guessed as much. We made plans for the next day.
Brenna and I went back home to bed where we came to the realization that she was wearing a Captain America t-shirt and I was wearing a wifebeater a la Tony Stark.
Because we're awesome.
We got up the next morning and went to Reading Terminal Market for breakfast. I had scrapple, which I consider to the the food of the gods. Then we decided to explore South Street, looking for a bookstore Brenna had wanted to check out, but instead we came upon Philadelphia's Magic Gardens.
This place. This place is a thing, people:
A REAL THING.
It was built by a single artist over fourteen years. If you're in Philly and have not seen this, I highly recommend it. It was stunning and beautiful and inspiring and made me want to create things of beauty.
We left there and walked down into South Philly a bit to meet Alison for hot dogs, which were delicious, and lots of lovely chatting with an old and very dear friend whom I was so delighted to see.
Then we went back to the hotel, Alison in tow, and packed Brenna off to her bus. Alison came with me to the train station, and we sat and chatted while we waited for my train, and it was really truly wonderful to see her and spend time with her. It had been much much much too long. She was one of my favorite people in college, one of those friends who knew all my secrets and was loving and supportive in all kinds of weather.
I got back to New York, and, as my train came closer, I realized that I was not quite ready for the weekend of wonderful things to end, so I texted Angel, and met Angel at a bar in Brooklyn, and then we went out for Mexican food and treated ourselves to extra desserts, which were amazing and chocolatey. We got churros which came with chocolate and caramel dipping sauce, and cake, which did not. We remedied this because there was more dipping sauce than the churros really needed, so then there was cake in the dipping sauce, too. We had a lovely time talking and dipping things, and then we went our separate ways.
It was such a lovely, beautiful weekend, full of so much joy and excitement and wonder, and I am so grateful to have had it. And I'm really, really looking forward to the prospect of having Brenna close enough that we can see each other more often and go on more amazing adventures.