tale of two cities

Tonight was a night I wouldn’t have thought about a few years ago. It was one of those nights with the crickets blowing so hard you’d thinkt hey were horns.  I went over to M.s house for a night out.  She called a few friends from high school over and all of the sudden things were moving. in all different shapes and colors and music was leaking in like a slug crawling around in the garden. Where we all sat facing each other in a circle as we drank under giant bushes and the overgrown trees of the country.  We could smell things like flowers.

The guys insisted we come to a rap club in a bar downtown. After rushing to put on layers of intricatly decorated makeup. We dashed into a car on loose sandals and elegant skirts, being whisked away by a busted ford. The car swirved in and out of Main street with loud blasting bass vibrating from under our seats. The street lights blurred into a mix of street stores stocking naked product. Empty. Into the lot across from the bar.

The scene was rich college kids, dancing to rap with beer bottles raised above them. Swaying hips and leaning back into the man behind them.  The rapper spun inside of a dimly lit tent while the smokers stayed outside. I was caught outside. Smiling across from someone I remembered from when I was sixteen.

“Hey John.”

He leans over the elevated bar stool and rests his elbows.

“Hey! What are you doing out here? I heard you…” A hand floats above the table, “moved out of town.”

“Yeah, I’m back for awhile I suppose.”  A ”public” fountain pooled out from the outside bar, no pennies gleaming below.  He told me he would jump in.  Don’t forget the pennies.

I remember the night on bellmont st. in an apartment with pink and red painted walls. The rest had tapestries hanging from the kitchen where the wine was stretched out in bottles and bottles. I was laying on the couch in my tutu, drinking wine and singing along with the jazz.  We hooked up and I disappeared around four. A month later he showed up as my substitute teacher.  John from Millers. Mr. M from high school.

We had a few beers before the sway of people smoothed over the bar. Here was someone from middle school. Here was another person who sold M and I coke. Here was another person from Western High. The shuffle of over played smiles and shrugged hips in the southern country-club way. Yes, and I would like another cigarette.

An over friendly couple of guys remember M. and I from awhile ago and give us long hugs with stretching hands down our backs and sides.

“Can I buy you a beer?”

I used to think city guys were so sleazy because they weren’t polite. M. and I decide to walk back to my house that’s not too far from downtown. We disappear gracefully and cautiously hugging old friends and quickly scurry downtown.

M. says she forgot we were passing the ghetto to get to my house. I look around, but there’s nothing but big houses with color slopped on the side of them. Telephone poles running farther and farther down the street and the city people sitting on their stoops.  We walk down the three blocks while an odd taxi drives past us twice. Once going up. Once going back down. His lights slowly pass with glowing eyes.


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