I have been practicing yoga every single day. I do twenty minutes in the morning and forty minutes to an hour every evening before supper. Thanks to this rigorous regime I have advanced reasonably quickly. After around a month of practice I am at the point where I can take on more demanding poses and ‘vinyasa’ sequences. I really thought I could do it. The crow pose stared out at me from the yoga lesson video, but I never dared try and lift my legs all the way. I jammed my knees up into arms, found my balance, had a strong base, lift one leg into the air…and thought I could lift the other. I couldn’t. I tipped over ungracefully, and nose dived into the yoga mat. Thankfully my nose was not broken but I was clearly concussed and now have two black eyes. “Let the mat catch you!” intoned the lithe and now hovering yoga instructor. Gravity is a bitch.
I slept for much of that night…and the next day…and the day after. In fact I didn’t do much except for forcing myself to do a little light yoga, write a little, and inspect my bruised eyes. I feel quite a bit better today, thankfully.
San Francisco is breaking my heart as usual. I don’t know how much of my heart will be available to be left here if I ever am forced to leave. I went to shut the curtains a little yesterday, to shut out some of the bright light, and as I did I noticed a shaven headed young woman nodded out on the street. She looked totally out of it on fent, barely upright. I was worried about her. She seemed not young enough to call the cops, but too young to look as messed up, hurt and addicted as she was. I forget sometimes how young I was when I first picked up hard drugs. Now I am just somebody’s mother, staring out the window, worrying about a girl who is nothing to do with me. Except she looked a little like someone I used to know and love dearly and I was worried. I was even more concerned when a scabby looking young man started to mess around with her stuff and bent towards her. She was in no fit state to be able to tell him to go away if she wanted that. She seemed to come too a little, got herself on her feet, and then sat back down again in the gutter looking dazed and lost and very much in need of some help but not in such an emergency as a call to the cops or ambulance would be taken seriously by the powers that be.
It was only when a fucking nasty man started shouting at her that she ‘could not be there’, and she ‘had to move right now’, screaming in her face like a total intimidating asshole, when all she was doing was silently sitting on the street, that I forgot I was concussed, I forgot I was old and fucked up, and I forget how dangerous men are, and I ran down the stairs towards her and the asshole. Yes. We can all agree I am well meaning but dumb. By the time I had got to her, the prick had disappeared and she was dragging herself down the street crying and red in the face. Very big of the motherfucker to bully a young woman who looked about eighteen years old or so, weighed less than a feather and was clearly severely addicted and lost. I talked to her a while. Found out her name. Asked if I could help at all. She pointed towards her legs. She only had on a pair of lycra shorts. She looked freezing. I asked her to wait, and ran up to my apartment, found some jeans I never wear that are from my days living outside – freshly laundered and in reasonable condition, and another ripped pair that hopefully no one would steal off her. I grabbed an elderly dollar pair of sunglasses, got the Boy to make some sandwiches and throw together some food and drinks, put a few bucks in the bag, and some clean socks, and ran back down to her. We were both crying.
There was something irrational in me that wanted to bring her home. Take care of her. Find out what on earth had happened, but I knew I couldn’t do that. I have the Boy. It was not even her, it was who might feel they ‘owned’ her, as pimps and pricks often feel they own women. Instead we talked, I offered to let her use my phone but she refused. She had no one to call. Her sad pretty face, ravaged already, legs scabbed over in desperate need of medical attention, hands shaking: she was already in need of another dose. Fentanyl has no legs. My heart broke for her. I hated myself for not being able to do any more. Close up she looked even more like the person I thought she did. Something inside me just collapsed as I watched her walk down the street further into the ‘Loin. I wanted to find that man and call the fucking cops on him, but he had long gone. I wanted to scoop up the whole world and feed it, house it and clothe it. I wanted all the suffering to stop. Before she left she turned back to me and asked, “Hey, Detroit, what happened to your eyes?” “Yoga accident,” I replied.
Yes. I have become tamed. Black eyes from yoga, hands shaking from arthritis, heart breaking from the stupid sadness of it all. I am now a shadow on a sidewalk. I wonder if I will ever be back there, on that sidewalk, some day in the future. I wonder if karma is as much of a bitch as gravity is, and if I have an ounce of good shit coming my way. I doubt it. Everything melts into suffering in the end.