I was writing a love story. I fell in love over the weekend. It was a polyamorous love. This may sound exaggerated but I love easily and hard. We all drank Lagunitas and Fireball and became the people we are supposed to be. More open, more brave, more confident. We fell in love with those selves and by default the sober versions of them.
Indifference is something that I have dabbled in but it does not come naturally to me. Feeling is something necessary even if it hurts.
I was sitting in a coffee shop trying to express my feelings for these people in a way that was not cliché. The coffee shop is in a harbor town south of Los Angeles. Los Angeles detained the small seaside town, for the income of its import, export business. So technically I am sitting in the Southern hub of the city that I have been trying to escape for much of my life. I have come to a kind of understanding with her, Los Angeles. She has presented me with an opportunity to do something big, so I will give her some kind of gratitude in return. We both know I will not stay.
The coffee shop has walls covered in windows allowing the harsh light of the November sun in. The chairs are grand and mismatched mimicking the decorations. It looks as though an interior decorator was fired mid project and another hired with a completely different taste palette. The customers stagger in. They’re varied, matching the chairs and decorations. I watch them and listen to them speak the languages of the coastal towns in Western and Eastern Europe. It is a place I have come to love. They have come to know me with my orange North Face backpack that has traces of long travels and lost friends to distance.
I sit there surrounded by the beige architecture of strip malls and consumerism. I am infatuated with my life. Staying stationary can take as much courage as roaming.
One of the companies hidden within the beige conglomeration is an escrow business. He walks from underneath the sign that has cursive lettering trying to indicate its class. He is dressed in all black. His black shirt has an image of a skeletal ribcage. The black was turning to gray in the harsh November sun. Southern California does not understand seasons. It only knows sun and heat.
He is pushing a cart full of his sole possessions; a sleeping bag and a backpack, not dissimilar to my faded orange North Face, full of anonymous objects that create his life. When I look down to his legs I see that he needs this cart for many reasons. They are emaciated, as though his shirt is a premonition of his future. He needs the support of the cart full of his life.
He slowly strolls passed a new black Corvette with extravagant silver rims. The contrast of this sight disgusts me. The fancy lettering of the escrow business behind him and the extravagant Corvette beside him he continues to walk, his eyes blank and stark. He does not realize the irony he is creating. His face is tanned. His face is too familiar for comfort. He is my age. He could be anyone. He was handsome once. His eyes blue and hair blond. If his legs were not the width of arms and his arms not the width of something much smaller he would be a handsome man again
I watch him until I become obvious, then I watch through the reflection of the glass door. This reflection is not whole. I only see his thin legs and feet in their oversized tennis shoes. He continues walking never noticing my eyes on him. And then he is gone.
I sit there for a moment searching for him desperately, knowing that if I see him he is still there. He is still alive, as though my eyes are saviors. Or at least my brain can understand better what I can do for him. I rummage through the stigma and social norms. But in the process of trying to hard to be a decent human, I lose him.
And so I continue writing.