I want to write about how my heart clunks to the ground and everything inside me goes all fidgety when I pass the chain link of Broadway dressed in popsicle wrappers and fast food bags. How my breathing goes ragged and my eyes hurry to the stop sign, the bus stop bench, anywhere else, but it's everything – plastic-coated wire defining yards of sand and rocks, planted in broken clothes hangers, soda straws, losing lotto tickets.
I want to write about how my heart fills to capacity each morning before 8, when I see, along the trash-strewn sidewalks, the same two women – or sometimes three of them – walking - slowly - like there is all the time in the world. One limps profoundly and leans on a cane, all are dressed in long skirts and hats, the colors plums and wines, or chocolate brown and gold. In the crooks of their arms, they carry their pamphlets and books of dire predictions. They are beautiful in their mission, and I often regret politely shooing them away from my own door when they come. Sometimes we talk about the garden.
I am in my car on Fremont. Beside me on the seat, a bottle of blue pills because I'm allergic to penicillin and the root canal is tomorrow.
It takes longer than it should to notice the singing. And just as the light changes to green, I turn and see him – a man of 50 belting out the blues, walking home through the Safeway parking lot. We have just enough time and his smile lights up the darkness of his face, of the night air all around him, and we wave and wave like little kids before I drive on.
If you are far enough up in the turn lane, you can see the giant cypress, its glory framed perfectly by the freeway overpass. Behind it, sand. I would do anything to rescue it – lonely bit of beauty – but I need it there too much.
Thursday, January 08, 2009