9am, drinking white wine from the bottle. I watched some dribble down her chin, and felt nothing unpleasant. Just lolling weights in my head.
'What?' she said, cottoning on to something, then turned around to get dressed.
I had to know where she was running to, but Leaf and Locust were there in the kitchen, grazing on bread from the bakery dumpster. So the four of us sat around eating breakfast, talking about the gunshots we heard in the night, and how eventually, living in Mission, you just got used to them. Locust said ‘We’ll probably hear about it in the news or something’. Then Les surprised me with, ‘Yeah, we had to wear those ear plugs in Detroit’. Catching my gaze, she tipped me a spoonful of honey-bunches, but I had no appetite.
In a ragged Bo-Ho internet Café on Valencia, she tried to map out her route to the place she was starting her new life. She wouldn’t tell me where that was, so I asked about the tattoo on her wrist--some weird geometric symbol or something. ‘Oh that?’ she said. ‘Me and my twin got the same one, but on different arms. So people could tell us apart’.
She laughed, but I was distracted and didn’t follow. Then while she ordered coffee at the till I had to watch her being hit on by this leather jacket dude. It wasn’t just the procession of zips or the custom bike helmet. It was…like he’d known her for ten years.
‘I knew him from N.A.’ she confirmed, finally taking her seat.
The exquisite smirk at my innocence.
‘Narcotics anonymous. But that was like--ages ago. I was fifteen.’ I laughed, as if she’d said it for effect, but I guess it wasn’t that funny.
Back down Shotwell and Cap, opposite my flat, she said ‘Well, here we are!’ Hurriedly, I bought her old bike because it was getting to be a drag. Then I helped re-pack some things in the boot of her car. Then I said she was more than welcome to come inside and use the shower, if it would make her drive across Arizona more comfortable, or something. She said thanks, felt my back, and two minutes later was gone forever.
Up the steps at my door I preyed that Locust would still be in, because my key was inside. But after knocking on the hard wood for several minutes straight, all I could hear was wind chimes.