In the garden of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, I munch on a Winstead's grilled cheese sandwich and sip a Diet Coke. It has been some time since I have sat outside with no purpose at all. I packed things to do in my satchel — a book to read, a notebook for scribblings, a camera for photographs, a stamped postcard to write and to perhaps send — but mostly, I rest my head on my jacket, and doze supine, with the sun in my face.
There are no clouds in sight, but my mind is hazy, and most everything feels blurred. I even have difficulty focusing on what I recently deemed (to just myself, but now to you) the most beautifully written novel in the world. Even Colum McCann's words — which are sometimes strung together in a way that connotes dripping hot caramel from a spoon 12 inches above your ice cream, and other times are so succinct they break like snap peas — are too much to take in this afternoon.
From how the voices sound, two mothers sit approximately 20 feet behind me. They are doing a poor job of watching their children play. I guess this because their voices are not directed in the general direction of their children, who are following a butterfly up ahead. Instead, they gabber quietly amongst themselves, but I can still hear one woman's long and dramatic tale of the babysitter who recently fired her (gasp!) through text messages.
I tune out slightly, so that the women's voices mix with the volume levels of the boys who play frisbee down the main green and the trio that picnics on a gingham blanket down the way. Even in my patterned blouse and bright red lipstick, I feel invisible and wonder if the women mind that I hear everything they say. It all feels bright, even with my eyes closed.