I woke up to a foggy, grey, perfect San Francisco morning: cool and damp, forcing itself awake, trying to gain momentum, but struggling to get up off the ground. Everyone seems to be drinking paper cups of coffee as they pass by my window, letting the heat warm fingers that acclimatized to our late summer heat. The dog days appear to be gone! Just a few days ago it was 86 degrees of misery. I kept my curtains closed. The sun is not tolerant of mourning. It shines on regardless, taunting. I will not let it goad me into tears.
I must get some voile curtains so I am not so visible up here at my window. I think a wispy white. I will never make an interior designer. I have little imagination for my own surroundings. Hence my window dressing escapades, I suppose. A necessary expense. A man gets up and walks away. I never get to see his face. He has spent the night outside my window. As he carefully packs away his gear, rolling himself a cigarette carefully with one hand, but never turning around. His smooth brown hand rolls the paper and tobacco around and around until he is satisfied, then he shoulders his burden, and heads off up the road. My heart is hurting. I have to stay alive. That cannot be my Boy. I would walk through the gates of Hell for that kid, aye, and do it willingly too! There is nothing I can do, except resolve to take him out a cup of hot sweet tea if I see him out there again, and see if he would like a sandwich. I am all of a sudden ashamed of my wheatless dry bread. Poor kid. I hope someone loves him out there, and he makes his way home to them someday.
All these traps set for people: the drugs and the politicking, the booze and the ass. All traps for dreamers and fortune seekers. All traps bred into the bones of society that shut people out of equality. I wish I could opt out of it all. I don’t want to participate, I don’t want to play the games the world sets in place to keep us occupied and distracted. I just want to write. I just want to play music. I just want to pick it so it doesn’t heal. I just want to play Joni Mitchell and stay under these blankets on my bed, as the trees wave gently outside my window, their leaves looking as if they want to fall. Oh! Not the season of leaf blowers, fighting the wind and nature, moving them here to there and back again without picking them up, and repeating until they rot away. The pure definition of useless and futility. Billy won’t see the leaves fall this winter. He will not get to complain about the futility, or the rain, or the cold or the idiocy or inhumanity. There will be no ‘warming’ shots of rum and dark beer. Fuck him. He is dead and I hate him for it. How could he hurt me so finally? How dare he…..how dare he….He was just like all the rest in the end: he didn’t care not to cause me pain. I have had enough pain for several lifetimes. I am not special, we all go through these pains. I am not saying my pain is worse, or bigger or better or purer. Pain is pain is pain. None of it good, but at least I am human. At least I feel something still. At least I am not a monster.
Another man walks south with their own paper cup of coffee, looking like a man who cannot persuade himself to get up and go to work without his $5 grande. Does coffee still cost five bucks? It has been so long since I bought a cup of coffee. My stomach and my pocket book won’t take it. That coffee persuasion: a treat, a motivation, an incentive. There is something about being out of the house so early. A particular feeling of heading off with a job to do, before the sun is truly up and running, grabbing a hot drink, cafe standing. possibility breathing. My early Tokyo mornings, free wheeling on my borrow bicycle to the station, I hated them and loved them too. Outrunning the ghosts and the curses, the businessmen and nurses, my 5am struggle out past Mount Fuji, running up the stairs of bridges, bolting my bicycle to the station bicycle parking lot stand, hurling myself onto the first train, coffee cup in my hand, then watching the sun rise in the land where it rises blood red on the white of the mountain. Aka Fuji. A trick of thee light. The mountain is bleeding, it dies every morning, a blood sacrifice to the Kami and by evening it is pure white. Reborn. Eternal, at least as much as anything is.
A cell phone dangles from a wrist strap boldly, recklessly swinging. Perilously tempting gravity and fate. It is still winning the battle against misfortune as its owner glides up the hill on an electric scooter. Children to school. Masked anonymous little bandits laughing like racoons on the hunt for eggs. They make me smile with their boisterous innocence. They stop outside the window, waiting for their friends, a mother watching from a distance as they go down the road. They kick a can along the gutter. Some things never change, they always stay the same. How many children have kicked cans along this San Franciscan gutter on their way to school? Laughing sullenly. Sulking happily. begrudgingly glad to be on their way to school, to life, to friends, to adulthood. To freedom!
All these coffee drinkers are making me thirsty. I am lazy. I should make a pot of tea, accept that I am up and awake for the day. Put some clothes on. Get out the house. But it is my day off. It is our weekend – the two days off the Boy chooses as his days that he doesn’t have to go to school. I want to go out. I want to go to GG park, to Japantown, to the Bay to watch the ships come in. The Boy doesn’t want to go with me. He wants to huddle inside, and make a model I bought him for his birthday. Sometimes this world can seem far too dangerous. Far too scary. Far too much for any of us. I am not feeling strong enough to go out without him. I would only worry. Perhaps I can persuade him to accompany his poor mother out tomorrow, to have a little mercy on me and hold my arm and take me out to look at ships on the water. I wish I could have my own travel mug of tea to take out with me and sit on a bench, grateful in the grey haze. I have had enough of summer.
My blood runs too hot. My body is tired. I look outside and remember when I could run and jump and leap and row and ride and swim. I am too young to feel like this. I am too old not to. Gates shut as car doors open.
Someone has dropped a chicken, bones and all, cooked and greasy just outside my window. I can smell it rotting.
Which way will the world turn today? Will it pass quietly? Will it rumble by in hustle and bustle? Will it slide by dangerously? Will it tick by without pain?
Who will live today?
Who will die?
Who will get to eat air? Which of us will get to eat pie? Does it even matter?
I wish all of us safety and satiety; enough to plenty. I hope all of us get out of this day alive. World keeps on turning, the odds are stacked. Every moment feels like a coin toss between life and destruction, a smooth sided pit none of us can climb out of. At least there is coffee, I suppose.