Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Walk


Liko and Shelly are both ill and they both go to bed early. I tuck them in, do the dishes, pick up his room.

Now what? It's only 8:45 and I'm not tired. I pull on my coat, grab a book, and walk out the door and down Castro to 24th. I walk into The Dubliner and order a Guinness.

Thirty minutes later Amanda strolls in with a gaggle of friends.

"Hey," she says. "What are you doing here?"

I tell her the situation. "And you just went out for a beer?" she says.

"Yep."

"That so cute!"

Cute?!

Amanda is with the other mothers in her coop preschool. They gather in the back, sipping beers, excited to be out at night.

"I love the coop right now," Amanda says, glancing over.

"That's great," I say.

She goes to join the moms.

I finish my second Guinness, leave The Dubliner and walk back up 24th. I see my friend Joey in the window of the restaurant where he works as a bartender, putting chairs on tables, wiping down the bar. He doesn't see me outside; watching him, I realize that I've known him now for seven years. Seven years. His wife is about to have their second baby.

I remember teaching Liko to walk on 24th. I'd give him his little cart and make him push it towards me, and then one day I took the cart away. Passerby would gape at Liko toddling down the sidewalk, his wide-open smile promising all of us that there is always something better. It hits me that those days are gone and they're never coming back.

Now I'm turning up Castro: up, up, up, I don't even notice the climb. My hill. There's my house: the blue and yellow Victorian, our landlords below, us above; our lights are on in the gable. I think about Roxie, how she hooked me up with my publisher, and I feel grateful to her.

All these people who have helped me in life: Why do we help each other? None of us can make it without help. I unlock the door and go inside.

We won't last too much longer in this house; it gets smaller every day, and San Francisco seems to get more expensive. I turn on the laptop and start writing this. My fingers feel thick as I type, but I have to get this trivia down, before it goes away.

3 comments:

AMR said...

Something special about moments of clarity -- specific moments when you notice the who, what, where, when and whys of your own little world.

Funny how so many of these moments of clarity occur after a few moments in ones favorite tavern!

Marc said...

I prefer to think the clarity comes from stepping outside our routine. Thanks for the slice of life reflections. I may just go for a walk for no reason other than it's a pleasant, cool Fall evening.

Jeremy Adam Smith said...

Well, yes to both: beer + stepping outside routine. The two in combination can make you see things in new ways.