Yoshi and Baby Food

“Did you see that woman that just walked past?”
P cranes her neck to try to catch a glimpse of the woman Sandy’s pointing out. All she can spot is a bright orange and pink swimsuit?

“Was she in the pool?” P asks, thinking how she must have been. It seemed like the entire Y population had been in the pool that night! P had even ventured into the ‘walking lane’ and gotten away with it for 10 minutes since the lifeguard was in total “Bump on the Log Boredom Mode”. Then walkers had appeared and she’d had to move.
To circle swim with 4 swimmers! At the Oakland Y? Hell doesn’t even begin to describe it.
So, the pink suited woman might have been in the pool and P wouldn’t have noticed with all the circle swim mayhem.

Sandy shakes her head though, “No, I don’t think she swims.”
“Who is it?” another woman asks.
“Yoshi.” Sandy nods, calm and firm in her celebrity friendship sighting status.
“Yoshi, like in Yoshi’s?” P asks, confused. She’d never thought of “Yoshi” as a person, or if she had thought of Yoshi as a person, not a woman. Was P sexist in her small business jazz club owner assumptions?
Guess so.
Or she’d just never really thought about it before. Remembers the time that Owen Hill took her to see McCoy Tyner at the old Yoshi’s location on Claremont Ave. P isn’t a big jazz fan, but Tyner’s piano is smooth and elegant. A genius at the keyboard with floating hands and humming background. It had been over 20 years ago probably, but P still remembers his humming.

Sandy grins, “Yup, that Yoshi. We used to dance together at Shawl Anderson years ago. Used to eat baby food on point cuz that was the only thing we could stomach before all that exercise.”
P glances over at DL when the baby food detail arises. DL is stoic. Is she listening? Laughing? Amazed?
P is sure she is, but DL is so cool. Never shows it. Unlike P who is full of questions and astonishment.

“Baby food!” she exclaims, though the mention always brings her back to her sick cat Gus and how she and Owen fed him baby food during his final days. It was the only thing he could eat.
He musta been a Ballerina Cat at the end.

“Yup,” Sandy continues. “And the smell of the bakery next door. You remember the Buttercup?”
“Oh, yes!” P enthuses. The Buttercup Bakery was famous for its pastries, breakfasts and lousy coffee.
“Well, the smell of blueberry muffins wafting through the window of Shawl Anderson’s studio space used to drive us crazy. We couldn’t wait to finish the class and race over to the Buttercup.”
“I bet!” P laughs, thinking of the baby food deprivation pose on point. Torturous!
“She’s done so much for the community,” African American Goddess murmurs loud enough for everyone in Utopia to hear.
“That she has, that she has,” Sandy agrees.
“And it’s cool she comes to the Y,” AAG continues, moving a plastic bag of ice from her firm brown belly onto her firm brown thigh. P wonders what it’s like to be that firm and that inured to the sensation of ice on your skin.
“I think she just comes here to stretch before she heads into work,” Sandy speculates, rising to eye the clock.

“What time is it?” P asks.
“9:39,” Sandy sighs heavily, “time for me to hit the shower.”
DL leaves ahead of her. The heat of Utopia, as always, too much for her after a few minutes.
P sits for a moment with AAG, thinking about Yoshi’s, McCoy Tyner and Gus. It’s strange how time goes by and events co-mingle and mix. On the one hand, it seems like yesterday... no not really. That’s the cliché. It seems like a long long time ago. P was a different person.
But she still was a swimmer. Always a swimmer.

Some things never change. P can embrace that cliché. As long as she can swim. Though preferably without the Y circle swim hell.



Anonymous said…
I've seen Mc Coy Tyner and I remember the humming as well as his incredibly nimble fingers. I remember Gus and the Buttercup too! Thanks for the story and all of it's connectivity.

Cj said…
Thanks for the, as always, great comments, Anonymous Kitty! You are my most appreciative audience. The connections just 'flow' sometimes, you know?

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