It’s so early right now. The city is wondering how it’s going to go about changing seasons. It’s till gray and cold. If there were some fog, I’d be reminded of San Francisco. All of this is just the outline. It’s the only way I know how to work myself through a story. I read an interview with Bret Easton Ellis on the train home yesterday where he talked about outlining novels and how he took years to do it. That’s not in me. I have to write my way through it, then, find the story in the words. I’m praying that the story is going to reveal itself to me somewhere in the foggy mornings of San Francisco. I can’t say that word, those words, without thinking of such days.
Let’s walk down Market street at 7:00 A.M. for a bit. You don’t see any of this in the postcards. In most cities, this is the fringe, but here, the alcoholics and everyone else who couldn’t support a habit pollutes the veins of the city. The vein. Market Street. In New York it may be Broadway, but there is was Market street, running like a shotgun spray that tries it’s hardest to be be a straight line. I don’t think you can argue that. I remember being in a bar early in the morning. Could that be right? I need to find my way around here. I’m latching on to characters right now in hopes that they are going to show me the way. It’s like that when you get out of the start – away from the glory of completing the first few laps of the story. I’ve taken it off of one block and am now trying for a city.
Pick it up from the fog. Here were go.
The day of the date I was pretty excited. I hadn’t gone to school in a week or so? How am I going to manage talking about college here? I might just have to leave that out completely. It would separate the “I” from the narrator a little bit. It is a novel after all – I can do as I please. That’s the glory of it.
I met her after work – she made me wait. Out into the city, through the people and down to Church street where, at the end of the block, Market street waited. There was a club there that was reviving swing and all the kids from the city who had the proper clothes and right moves went to loose themselves in an era. I was never into swing that much, but the places that were full of bop and words that I connected with were old and filled with people who never moved on from not having made it. They didn’t want to hear anything new and I knew that taking a girl there would not really do it.
She wore her outfit with suspenders and cool shoes and I wore what I’d put together from a thrift store not because that’s all I could afford but because it’s all that fit how I wanted to perceive myself. You could do that there. The club was downstairs a flight so it existed below the street level. It was packed. I had never been in there for dinner – only a drink and to be in the back. The crowd had to be thick. See, here is the outlining part. The band was playing a swing tune and those who knew how to dance to it were on the floor. There were dinner tables set up for those who had a reservation, which I did.
The guy playing the host took us to our spot. The menus didn’t give much other than high prices and lists of food that appeared everywhere else. I looked over and saw her differently. When someone sits down to eat, you can really tell who they are by how they hold a menu. There, the girl who I thought was the mystery city girl once again faded away and turned into the person she was when she left home and decided to reinvent herself here. We all do that when we come to a big city – though I was born in a big city, so my way of seeing the world was always through a crowd.
Her hair and clothes fell away and I saw only her. I squinted so I wouldn’t believe what I was looking at. She ordered something plane and I ordered something cheap. She followed that up with ordering a martini, which I pretty much believed was the first one she ever drank and ordered it because her days of shopping and hair cutting had paid off enough to catch someone who would sit her down at the other end of the table and paint her picture for her.
The band played, the dinner came and the conversation went without any ups or down.
Where are you from? What do you want to do? How long have you lived here? Don’t you love the city? Don’t you hate your job? Do you like your food? Isn’t the band great? What kind of music to you like? All the questions that come out awkward and get translated wrong on their trips over the table. I was thinking about how she would look naked and when I didn’t like what I imagined, I created my own image. Neither of us could dance like the people on the dance floors did, so we left the meals uneaten and went back to her place.
She had a bed with no pillows and a pretty big apartment somewhere I had never been before- I can’t remember what part of the city it was. Strange. The apartment itself was large and modern – nothing like the gothic feeling. She was the oldest thing in there. Fashion magazines that mimicked what she was wearing were everywhere. She got undressed and put on a short t shirt and sat there with her panties on. She didn’t even ask. It was mechanical and cold.
“I don’t use a pillow at all, it’s bad for your back,” said said, getting into the blanket and rolling over. “If you don’t mind that, you could stay.”
I wanted to go but I just went with the movements taking place. I took my clothes off for a bit – standing there in my thrift store slacks and wife beater – my shirt over the chair and my tie just undone. That’s how I enjoyed taking clothes off and how I wanted to share moments, but she was turned over and missed it all. It was the act of undressing and pausing in the middle of being slightly undressed that I was interested in. I took my pants off an climbed into bed, pressing up against her. She was cold.
“Be an gentleman, please,” she yawned. “Maybe something will happen in the morning. We’ll see.”
With that, she went to bed and I looked out the window until the sun came up, just thinking about why I should go but never going. When she woke up, her face was much younger and her skin much more pale. I guess the make up didn’t last. She turned into my arms and rubbed against me, kissing me for a second before pulling away.
“I’m going to get ready for work, do what you like here.”
She walked away and I took a look at here ass to see if there was any thing that would get me going, but it just wasn’t there. She walked into the bathroom and I grabbed my shirt after putting my pants on and walked into the streets. The sun was out and the fog had decided not to come that day. It was a feeling of warmth that wrapped around me. I walked unsatisfied all the way home, gathering in rare sun and trying to think about what happened and what I was searching for. Things would have to change I guess if I wanted something to write about, but I was living back then and not reflecting. Looking for warmth in patches of fog.