Monday, January 25, 2010




1 : the great hall in Norse mythology where the souls of heroes slain in battle are received
2 : a place of honor, glory, or happiness : heaven

sometimes i just cannot escape the sound of a word. valhalla, valhalla, repeating over and over in my head, trying to conjure up a memory of a place of glory or extreme happiness. and all i can think of is Ya Hala.

Ya Hala is a lebanese restaurant in portland, located by the VALHALLA that is 82nd avenue. i've probably been there four or five times. the food is delicious and accompanied by never-ending amounts of pita bread. free bread always wins my heart and loyalty.

although Ya Hala is a place that exists, and i can conceivably visit at any time during their open hours, it is really only images to me. it is pockets of time stored in my memory: walking there after a trip to target with bobbie sue and gwen, wet from the winter rain, plastic bags full of paper towels and 2-pack socks by our feet as we ate falafel sandwiches; sharing a mezza with brody, 60/40 in his favor, watching him drink turkish coffee from a dainty cup, do you want to try some? it's too late; i'll be up all night. it's just pieces that add up to an imperfect idea of a whole.

when i was younger, i wished that after i died i could watch a video of my life, to at once gain an objectivity that i could never have reached otherwise. i still fantasize about this sometimes, trying to write myself into an imagined place of wisdom. perhaps that is my VALHALLA—a land of retrospect, a Ya Hala constructed from the sum of all its parts, instead of only the shiny moments i've chosen to recollect.

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