Walking down a no-name road at one thirty has a certain aimless freedom attached to the yellow lane line. There was no traffic- for a Saturday night I figured the traffic would hold off until at least two (after last call.) One thirty a.m. is a little like a cheap version of four. No one is out, you can walk in the middle of the road and not have to worry about getting hit, but unlike four a.m. your night may have not ended and the future isn’t always in sight.
I went over to P.s house for dinner. He made pork with a sauce of shallots drenched in some sort of creamy sauce that meandered around the pork more than a park person on a bench. It was delicious. There were mashed potatoes with real chives that I watched him dice on the counter. Olive oil. The light kind because he knows I have ‘certain ways of doing things.’ The vegetables were miked four four and a half minutes. I did that part.
We talked a little about our awkward source of relationship that we have fumbled upon in only the hours between midnight and five. I won’t hold hands in public. I won’t hug. I notice the fingers-on-lower-back position more acutely than most. I don’t kiss. Sex however….
While he’s in the bathroom I slam on my jeans and buckle my belt as fast as possible. My shirt is hiding under the jeans and I like the way my body looks in the mirror. Slim. Bent over because there is a cramp in my back. Spinal betrayal. Cigarettes in back pocket. Hips leaned against a door frame. My hair is a little matted, my make up is half steamed off. My voice has that sound to it I had forgotten about. In a minute I’ll be smoking a cigarette on the back porch with my feet up on the fence. Ten minutes and I can run away and never look back.
There are other parties to go to. A friend of his is having one a few streets down, in some other connection of his neatly.manicured. neighborhood. A friend of mine wants me to go to a bar with her, but it’s too late now. It’s one thirty.
Why don’t you stay the night? He brings up the fact he has air conditioning and two huge comforters. No- I have to get going. I don’t tell him this is my favorite part of my life. Walking down empty roads that turn from neighborhoods to streets of almost equal emptiness. We hug, I say goodbye – and then I am completely free from any entanglement that I might have gotten caught up in. My body is swaying to the headphones jammed in my ear. Professor Longhair. The best music to dance to- I think of my favorite memory of dancing with my partner in crime in a Minneapolis apartment for hours on end. Someday I will go back and see the Zooloo King.
It’s two when I get into the apartment. I lie on the floor and talk to my kitty Suzanne for awhile before Jess calls. She’s telling me she got arrested a couple nights ago. It was rough, she says, but she just gave them a sob story and she got out in seven hours. She has the ‘I beat the system’ voice, but I know she’s scared. She’s sitting on a stoop outside of St. Bernard street in West Philadelphia and I can hear the guys come up to her.
“Sam called.” She says in that far off voice and I know she’s talking about the same guy she’s been infatuated with for years. Her first love. And for an hour of heaven, we talk about clothes and guys we’ve dated and everything that’s changed and everything that seems the same. While the future may not be rising yet, we do always seem to know what keeps coming around.