note # 25: A Letter from San Francisco
I am back in San Francisco for a few days. Too short of course. You would be happy to know that i have many friends in the city and i feel at home.
Driving up here from LA via the I-5, i found myself frequently thinking of you. Remember, Diane, when we first met, really met (since i have known you/of you all my life), we met at Tartine’s bakery and you had the lemon meringue pie. August 14 2010. I remember the delight you took in eating it, the cream on your lips and teeth. Your eyes sparkling with the pleasure. Your eyes were always sparkling with the pleasure of life. I do not know what i myself had on that day but since then i have had a few sandwiches, the lemon bar, coffees and used the bathroom and i will never forgive or join the long lines to the bakery, living and working so close i guess it was easier for me.
Diane, your presence in San Francisco was like fertilizer speeding up the growth of my roots in this new hometown. I do not know when i recognized that i loved you, deeply, that you were my best friend and my family. One day, you were. You bought me my purple shopping bag that could be folded into a small pocket so i can cope with the San Franciscan life a little better. You bought me my pink plastic mesh wallet, during one of grocery shopping adventures at Rainbow’s, that fit into my jean back-pocket which i used until the plastic thread poked into my ass, it is now housed in the car with coins for parking meters.
Was i happy to see you when you showed up, my sole witness, at my Zizi Hasheeteh (group) performance, uncomfortable, lonely and shy, on Market Street as part of the Cries of San Francisco project by Southern Exposure. You brought me a black ring made of zipper from the MOMA shop because you thought it would fit my character.
As a treat, after introducing you to City CarShare (who have since ceased to exist), you drove us to the edge of Golden Gate Park near Ocean Beach and we hung out at the tulip garden.
Coming over to your place, I must have brought hundreds of currant scones from Arizmendi’s which opened on my way to 24th St. and Mission St. Bart station.
How many movies did we watch together over the span of five years? Across town at the Metreon, Embarcadero, Downtown Century, Castro Theater, afternoon show at the cinema on Van Ness, Clay theater after bison burgers. Did we ever go to the Roxie together? No matter how hard i tried to get there before you, you were always there, in your silver hair and black jacket, with the tickets in your hand. And always, always, we chatted about the movie until we could not longer stay in our seats when it was time for the following show. I want to go to the cinema with you.
You had such gentle ways of taking care of me and mostly including delectablities. Ooooh, all that good bread and butter we consumed and endless cups of coffee alongside brunch at the St. Regis across the street from your flat in your graceful attempt to distract me from worrying about a decisive interview simultaneously taking place across the globe.
You took me to the ballet for my birthday, my first ballet at age 39. I had mentioned in passing in front of you that i had never been. Did we get a chocolate chip cookie at the intermission? We planned season after season to go watch football, you described so scrumptiously the garlic fries, or was that baseball?
I remember vividly our last farewell. It was my 40th birthday. April 19 2015. And of course you came and climbed up the stairs for me. You got me Niman Ranch steaks as a gift but they were really for Ola. We ate shakshoukeh. Our conversation got intense about the elections. You could not come to the beach with us. Was i shameless to want so eagerly to go to the beach for my birthday when you could not go? I stood with you waiting for the taxi and i wanted it to come fast so i could go to the beach. We took chips and sparkling wine and blankets. The beach was cold and there were millions of little purple jellyfish like creatures dead on the sand. Beautiful and tragic. Was it China Beach?
You know, Diane, i think you and i really saw each other. I felt seen by you, you really paid attention to me. As best as I know how, I loved you. Of course now it feels like it was not enough. Never enough.
Your departure shook the grounds below my feet so hard, my roots became loose. I took to the road more eagerly, more easily. You visit frequently. I nod when Ola says: “Diane would have been so happy for us.”
I was in your neighborhood yesterday, I did not walk up to 680 Mission St, # 29 D but i did wink at you from the pavement in front of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
San Francisco, August 20 2017