and three

Breakfast at my coffee shop, and goodbye to the owner.
Selling my books at Black Oak, and feeling a little bit like I’ve sold my soul
for thirty dollars, and a little bit lighter and freer. A walk across the park,
through the de Young sculpture garden, back to the Japanese Tea Garden, up and
around the pond, into the tea house. A
pot of jasmine tea, a sesame cookie. Down to the conservatory of flowers, up to
the library. My old coworker, a friend, still—oh, we’ll miss you. Oh, I wish
you well. It’s good. Ridiculously good. Do you know how lucky you are? I know
how lucky I am. I can see the hills of Cole Valley, from here, and there is Twin
Peaks. It is a bright day, and sunny. I know how lucky I am, this

Down to the Ferry Building,
a walk through the halls, poking into Sur La Table, the mushroom store, the
chocolate store, the bakery, the gelato shop. Stopping, finally, for six
perfect oysters and a glass of perfect white wine. A table overlooking the bay.
The cars stream across the bay bridge, and my mouth tastes like minerals, sharp
and delicious. I do not want to get up. Sourdough bread and sweet butter,
paying the check. Next door to Slanted Door, meeting with A. It’s a good thing
you’re doing, he says. I am so proud of you. You’re going to kick ass. And
you’ll be back, if you need to. The bartender buys us drinks, and more drinks.
The bartender loves us. Will bartenders love me in Utah?
Will anyone? I am drunk enough to feel sorry for myself, even with this view of
the bay, the cruise ships, my belly full of oysters and me so ready to go.

Walking up to Cantina, and it is dark, now, and chilly, and
the lights are bright and I can’t tell if I am drunk, or everything really has
come into exquisite focus. I am drunk, so everything has come into exquisite
focus. Goodbye to my favorite bartender. Really, Utah?
he says. Really, I say. I must look sad, because he comes around the bar, wraps
his arm around my shoulder and shakes me a little. Hey, he says. There’s a
reason, right? A lot, I say. There you go, he says, and gives me another
brandy-soaked cherry.

I am late for dinner, run to the train. It’s there
immediately. My friends are waiting for me, their faces changing when they see
me—delight. Absolute delight, and I want to cry, when I see it. They are so unabashedly,
unequivocally happy to see me, and I am so happy to see them. Food, so good—seared
ahi tuna, and hangar steak, and cheese fondue and mushroom dumplings and we
plow through, talking, and there’s bread and more bread and probably I am going
to die, from the food, but I don’t want to stop and I don’t want to go.

I am
exhausted, but I don’t want to go back to my house full of boxes and a
freaked-out cat and my to-do list full of things to do. I am still out, in San Francisco, and I still live here and this is still
home, for good, for all anybody knows. I’ll be back, I keep telling everyone. I’m
not done yet. There’s no way I’m leaving for good. It feels like I’m leaving
for good, like I’m already mourning when there’s nothing to mourn, because that’s
just silly. It’s not going anywhere, right? But it’s bad enough I’m going.

One Reply to “and three”

  1. Sounds like a perfectly fabulous and also bittersweet day. That’s life, lovely lady, and my god, how wonderful is it to know you have this great place full of great people and things that (as you said) aren’t going anywere. And look at you, on to new things, most likely fantastic things, more wonderful memories and fabulous days ahead, and SF waiting for you there if and when you’re ready to return. Life is good!

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