She woke up really early on me today, peaked through the orange tulle curtains of my hotel window and said, “Come play dress-up, messy head.”
I opened my eyes, shushed away the last of my dreams and squinted at Her sun.
“Look on you,” I thought, immediately inspired to untangle myself from the sweat-drenched sheets.
(I had come here to do some serious heavy lifting: To leave a lover behind — like an excess of water weight — to let Her keep him, for good. “Do keep him safe though,” I had thought last night before leaving for my dreams, “and don’t tell anyone — just how much I loved him.”)
It would not take me longer than fifteen minutes to leap out of my bed, stretch the soaked sheets over the bathroom door to dry out; peel on my brand new running clothes, pull all that hair nonsense out of my face — and to start running. Despite the whining knee I had busted last night in the midst of rage, I flew down the stairs (“Fuck the elevator: I’m am an athlete!”) and past the disoriented guests checking-in at the desk of this vintage hotel that can only happen here — with Her — or back in New York City.
“Onward from here!” my mind was beginning to slip into just another of its outraged moods; and having foreseen it, I had left my running music up in the room. “ONWARD!”
But the minute I stepped outside:
“Ah, look on you!” I thought — and felt my shoulder blades loosen up immediately and slide down my back like a pair of resting wings.
I have always had a crush on Her: a little bit of a moody addiction of which I am not fully aware until it is time to leave Her. On our every rendezvous, I forget about my departure date looming ahead. I block it out; and instead, I carry on, quite often getting confused for a local by the disoriented tourists stumbling along Her streets with a “Look on you!” expression paralyzing their breathless faces. On foot, I navigate Her streets never really on any other mission than to live — and to live so damn fucking well! And every time I have to leave Her, I throw fits: in the middle of my vintage hotels, on BART rides and in airport lounges. I would begin to jones for Her long before saying my goodbyes; and slip into yet another outraged mood for days, for weeks to follow.
“Yeah? You like?” She began to shift about on her feet, twirling her sex in front of my eyes: showing off Her heavenly curvatures and the bohemian yet often expensive frocks. From Chestnut, she looked idillic: Too good to be true, really. Right around Fillmore, She seemed quite youthful.
On Divisadero, She nearly brought me down to my knees; and I would weep with gratitude for having lived long enough to get here — for having lived so damn fucking well! — and for wanting to live past Her, on this day, just so that I could always come back to Her. And back — to this gratitude.
“And what about this?” She purred turning the hip of her Bay toward me. “I put this on, just for you.”
It’s true: My beautiful girl — that flirt! — was unusually sunny today; kind of balmy, as if shrouded in a fur coat of Florida’s dampness. Adorned with her favorite Golden necklace of the Bridge, she shifted the other hip toward me and looked over her shoulder:
“I can pull this off, yeah? You think?”
“Oh,” I thought. “Oh, oh, oh! Look on you!”
I would catch myself walking. The outraged mood of the mind had evaporated with the last feathers of her fog, somewhere along Hyde. (Whatever the fuck that was about!) And who knows for how long I had been moving at this calmer pace: It had to have been because I could not soak her up fast enough at that other, outraged speed on mine — so I shifted my gears.
And maybe, it had something to do with Her faces — the so-damn-fucking-well-lived-in faces of her locals:
The chiseled face of a gorgeous driver inside a white delivery truck with absent doors who studied me with curiosity while waiting to make a left — waiting for me to walk by — and then he smiled so disarmingly, so fully, so kindly and well, I thought: “By god! Marry me!”
The sad face of a beautiful girl, smoking her cigarette in a Parisian manner, outside a tanning salon, who was possibly dreaming of better places and better loves, in the world: “Is better love even possible?”
The threesome clan of nerdy boys from the future cast of a Wes Anderson film who simultaneously stripped down to their waistlines revealing some delicious muscles underneath: “Yes, please!”
The Yoko Ono in her black chic, horn-rimmed glasses who with a single gesture of a black-winged bird threw her pashmina over the elegant shoulder and sucker-punched me with a wave of her perfume: “Ahhh!”
The ultra masculine, unshaven, sleepy street fighter in a gray-and-scarlet 49ers tee, climbing inside his hefty Grand Cherokee: “Has anyone else noticed the cars never look filthy around here (around Her)?” And again: “Yes! Please!”
And the long haired hippie thoughtfully strumming his guitar with some Flamenco chords as if its strings were the lead-loaded waters of the Bay, or the heavy hair of a brown girl he once loved so madly: “Play it up, love. Play it up. I want to hear you, for many blocks ahead.”
“And what if I throw this on?” She raised a single eyebrow and slid into the cashmere of her grayish clouds, with blue in between.
“Perfect!” I hummed in response. “You are — absolutely perfect.”
I felt the tears accumulate again in my lower eyelids, and when a few slipped out and rolled down my face: Yes, they tasted like gratitude.
And I began to run again.