Saturday, September 29, 2012

The city remembers everything

Back in San Francisco. Three new restaurants on Valencia Street, and the city is rubbing up against all my raw places. Just like home.

It's sunny and perfect and I walk through Dolores Park, everyone seems younger and hipper than I remember, there's a new fantasy of a play structure in the middle of the park, if I was a kid I'd know I'd found paradise. I walk all around the park and see again my other selves, I see the night when I stood at the upper corner and looked out at the city and every bright light was in me, I see the residue of past sins, the park remembers all of it. Just like home.

Like home, this place knows me and all my vulnerable spots, it knows me but still brushes off a seat for me at the bar.

I have my nails done, and the women petting my hands and feet ask where I've been. Tho shakes a finger, says I need to come see them more often. The place belongs entirely to women, even the kid running barefoot on the tile is a girl, it's getting dark outside but in here the lights are on and we compare nail colors or don't talk at all, it's safe here in our single-sex ark.

It's almost a year since I set off on my travels, and I still don't know where home is, unless it's here at the keyboard, there in the darkest corner of my suitcase. My Oxford English Dictionary and my father's artwork and the couch I bought not so long ago wait patiently in storage and I don't yet feel roots sprouting from my feet, but maybe that's because I haven't kept them still.

This place will do for a while. As much home as Barcelona, as Brooklyn, as Middletown, as Tangier, as Peterborough. As much home as Utah, with a memory almost as long.

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