If you can make sense of this gimme a call

Rosalie Bull - Ecuador


April 19, 2016

Here we go; lets tell a goddam story. Eight months and you’d think I’d have the hang of this by now. Eight months and you’d think I’d have the hang of a lot of things. But anyways, I’m sitting here, my computer slowly burning out the last of its battery. And if I cant do it here, in the dim, flickering light of power save mode, I might as well put away my pens and paper, ink and quill, shut this machine down for good. I know there a writer in me somewhere, its just that coaxing her out is like trying to get a dog into a bath. 

If this frustration seems unwarranted, rash, forgive me but you weren't present through the rise and fall of six other paragraphs. 

I left that passage in storage for a while. I”d finally written something I liked, and it was supposed to be like casting a line into my riverbanks and sounds. A good cast, and then came the sitting and waiting. Its okay, so many good things happen on docks, so many dances are riddled out on sandy shores. 

In waiting for a story, a big prize wining rainbow trout of a story, I learned to love the meaning leant by time. The chewing on the sides of my cheeks, the clearing of my throat and sunning of my face. The excitement that is enough to bring me clattering to my feet, the simple shame in mistakenness. My time on the dock, thats why I write. Rilke would’ve wanted me to have an answer to that question, and now it finally feels like I’m hooked.

I think I should officially dedicate this to my Grandaddy, the fly fishing fiend, so I can get away with such an extensive fisherman metaphor. 

Don’t say goodbye. A few parting words rush out of your mouth as you enter the bus. You hug with the same semiconscious desperation that pushes you to eat a half sheet of brownies for breakfast. Each one is necessary, each one is in no way satisfying. You don’t know what you need, so you hug. And hug, and hug. You leave feeling even shittier.

the speed test

The night was embers that had been smashed into grey

and advice shouted from peaks

shouted from sea level

and though everything is at a precipice

of fading, of obseletion

it is so heavy

so here

he was quiet and he was night

i met him by a wall so porcelain 

under a light so silver

that we could have been the moon

a hum which comes closer 

awakens you in its rush 

to somewhere else

to someone else

and you stay, tossing and turning

eventually resigning to the night

you cannot think you cannot move

you are nothing but another part of the fabric of the sky

the unnamed  unknown listener 

witness to more than just yourself.

I was sitting in the bus station hunched over a book. Not actually reading. Attendants walked around yelling out destinations. The pages of my book were sticky and the air was so thick that it could have been poured from a vase. Everything around was colourful, everything vibrant, everything weary. People waiting for the bus leaned against the cement walls. Vendors started slicing into their own watermelons, pouring themselves glasses of coconut water. I kept to myself, aware of my backpack and blonde hair, the eyes that shifted around me, the assumptions that followed me as a gringa. The bus station is where I always felt most like a tourist. I’d hide behind my book, reading and rereading the same couple of lines, my gaze always slipping off the page and finding its way to the fruit stands. 

Poquito, no mas? My whole family knows to ask me. Instead of the regular 4 heap portion of rice, they give me 1 1/2. It still makes quite the daunting little mountain. My resistance makes my aunts laugh and my host dad frown. He’d prefer that all the women in his household were gorditas— their pudginess proof of being well looked after. For his birthday present, I let him fill up my plate as much as he wanted, and I ate every bite.

Yes, 8 months in Ecuador did not mean 8 of watery potato soup like pre GCY Rose had in mind. It means eight months of huge breakfasts, eight months of “no thanks” being offensive, eight months of a pinwheel rotation between rice, yuca, plantains, and more rice. Eight months of morning jogs to attempt to offset the calories. 

Its funny, I came here to do some serious soul searching, and one of my biggest challenges was skin deep. Thats how ingrained skinny is in our culture. 

And, even though I’m sure to be putting on weight, it also means 8 months of an entirely new sensation; being the flaquita of the family. 

I promise you, I am by no means skinny, but here in Ecuador my curves and rolls and thigh dimples are laughable in comparison to the average Ecuatoriana. Here, a woman selling empanadas swishes large hips from side to side with the sensuality of a Victorias Secret model. Here, beauty doesn't have a size. Its so flipping liberating. Or at least it should be. 

Unfortunately 

Unfortunately, its not. You’d think that a year surrounded by big beautiful women would be enough to get rid of the rather transient and silly bodily expectations that I’ve brought from the US. In the end, I can’t convince myself that my softening stomach is something to flaunt. I’m ashamed of it.

Hey there. I decided to make some sort of word casserole of all my writing scraps. Are they coherent? No. But I believe they still speak to some aspects of my experience. They are tiny fragments of my truth. If you can make sense of them gimme a call. 

Rosalie Bull