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Fog City Summer pt. 5 – Fiction

Fog City Summer

Part 5
a San Francisco Romance

Excerpt from a Novel by

Genie Cartier

Read Part 4

Last time: A confrontation with Scott at the People’s Music Festival leads to Julian getting hit in the face. Tension and confusion over the situation causes a rupture in Djuna and Julian’s relationship. Time passes.

 

Julian took a deep breath. He was really going to do it this time. He had always known from the start that it would end this way, but had kept it going far longer than was necessary purely out of guilt. His mother would have scoffed at it. Told him it was wrong to string someone along like that.

It had been, in fact, right after he had flown back from Hawai’i for his mother’s funeral that he had met Liz. He had spent a week on the island—all he could afford at the time— accepting condolences and making arrangements.

The island—so warm and wet, like a womb to fall back into. He had almost canceled his flight back to the cold city the minute he got there. It was the wake that reminded him why he shouldn’t. His old friends from middle school, many of whom now worked at the school as janitors or teachers, or folding white towels for tourists in hotels they could never afford to stay in. And his father, the hollow circles around his brown eyes, creases forming on his forehead and neck. His father looked so much older than when he had left. Only then had he realized that his mother was really gone.

Juxtaposition-photographic-arts

 

When he got back to the city, he breathed in the cold fog and smiled. The next day, he met Liz. She was his first customer, so he was already excited to see her. Before he had attained his actual truck, he had set up a pie cart. He was still waiting for his permit, but couldn’t afford not to work since he had quit his old job during an existential fit of quiet rage. Since it was illegal to sell pie without the permit, he set up a “donation” jar in exchange for it. He had been reading multitudes of articles about small businesses and “getting your brand out there,” and had decided that while he waited for his permit, he might as well establish himself as part of the neighborhood character. When his permit had finally arrived– after kissing the paper repeatedly and throwing his fists to the heavens like Rocky Balboa– he was soon able to purchase a truck and eventually a caboose filled with books. It was an altered version of his original dream of owning a coffee & pie shop filled with books.

Liz had been in neat athletic clothes when he first saw her, which outlined her skinny figure. Her blondish hair was in a perfect ponytail on top of her head. She had big brown eyes. She wore makeup when she jogged. She was perky, and smiled a lot. She soon became a regular customer, and he learned that she was from Ohio, owned uncomfortable decorative pillows, and worked for a self-important tech company that made something useless. He didn’t care at the time. She was soft and smelled like what moisturizer companies think pears smell like. She never left a mess at his apartment, and woke up very early before work to straighten her hair, leaving him all the space he wanted in the bed. She lived only a few blocks away from his new apartment in Seacliff, where he rented a small back room in a mansion with its own entrance (through the backyard) and bathroom but no kitchen. Probably the servants quarters originally. He just used the kitchen in his truck, now always parked in front.

Liz would be there any minute. He hadn’t thought of what he was going to say. He didn’t really have a clear reason to break up with her, but he had even less of a reason to stay with her, so it seemed like the right thing to do. Or maybe you could say there were many moments leading up to this decision. The time she had summoned an Uber to take her five blocks. The time she asked him why anyone would go to a store when you could buy anything on Amazon. Or the time she told him she loved Nicholas Sparks books, but the movie adaptations were even better. On second thought, there were a lot of reasons.

He heard the garden gate open and close. Liz walked in and immediately started taking off her many layers of jackets and accessories.

“Hey sweetie. Sorry I’m running late. There was, like, no bus for fifteen minutes and then of course two came at once, so I got on the first one, but then that one broke down and we all had to pile on the one behind it, so I had to stand the whole time with this creepy old guy, like, breathing on me. Ick. Where do you want to go for dinner?”

Julian inhaled slowly. “Um, Liz…”

Liz’s face suddenly changed from disgusted-bus-story-face to complete shock. “Oh my god, are you breaking up with me?”

“What?”

“I knew it! Don’t tell me how I knew about it, I just knew. It’s one of those things, like, I must have had a dream or something. What is it? Is it my weird mustache hair? I knew you couldn’t stand that. I told you, I have an appointment to get electrolysis!”

“Liz, it’s not your mustache hair—”

“So you are breaking up with me!”

“Well, yes, but—”

“Then what is it? What did I do wrong?” She was shaking.

Julian tried to suppress the screaming ball of guilt growing in his stomach. “You didn’t do anything wrong. We’re just not—you must have noticed—we just don’t go together. We’re such different people.”

“What are you talking about? I mean, we both like the same TV shows and food…”

“I’m pretty sure everyone likes Friends and pizza. That’s not really something to base a relationship on. Liz, I never feel comfortable at your house. You have all these scented candles everywhere, and white rugs. Why would you have white rugs? They’re made to be stepped on! Have a sensible color that doesn’t show every speck of dirt! And what’s with having twenty million pillows on your bed? It always looks like it’s about to be photographed for a Martha Stewart catalogue or something. It’s just not the way I live—”

“What, so this is an interior design issue? Do you want to talk about your ‘choices’ if you could even call them that?! Like, maybe buying more than two dishes? The two dishes you have don’t even match each other, much less the rest of you stuff!”

“Why would I need more than two dishes? I don’t even have a kitchen! It’s not like I’m having dinner parties every night. Is the queen coming over?”

“Jesus, Julian, you are ridiculous. You live like a fucking ragamuffin.”

For a second, the image of Djuna’s apartment, her beat up couch covered in a sheet and scarves draped along the walls, passed through his mind. He hadn’t talked to her in two years.

 

She soon became a regular customer, and he learned that she was from Ohio, owned uncomfortable decorative pillows, and worked for a self-important tech company that made something useless.

Djuna was so late it was laughable that she still thought she could even get there vaguely on time. The one time she tried to hop on the bus without paying because she had run out of money on her Clipper, of course was the one time the Muni officials got on scanning everyone’s cards. They pulled her off the bus and gave her a ticket, despite her protestations. They had heard it all.

It was the 14 Mission, so naturally the woman next to her had an eyepatch and was drinking a tall can of Steel Reserve. The woman eyed the ticket in Djuna’s hand with her one good eye and cackled.

“You got caught, eh little lady! Never seen ‘em on the 14 before…”

Eyepatch Lady had a point, the Muni agents rarely came aboard the 14. They must be really cracking down.

Djuna looked at the busy landscape outside the scratched bus window. There were still a lot of Mexican produce markets and taquerias, but more and more cutesy restaurants and trendy bars were opening on Mission Street. Maybe this is just what happens when you stay in one city for a long time. You see it change.

Juxtaposition-photographic-artsShe got off at 21st and walked up to Valencia. She immediately spotted it. The shiny new window with no posters on it, the stale grey interior. Inside were all young hipsters staring at computers or iPads. It would have been awkwardly silent if it weren’t for the dissonant indie-band soundtrack. She went up to the counter.

“I’m here to speak with Jeff—I’m running late, I’m sorry.”

The doe-eyed, messy-haired girl in red flannel nodded. “He’s in the back. Let me get him.”

While she waited, Djuna looked at the menu, on a screen up above the bar. The coffee was overpriced. Of course. Djuna just wanted to get the interview over with. For every cool, interesting business she got to write about, there were probably 5 annoying, pointless coffee shops or app companies, and she would have to think of something new and meaningful to say about them.

Jeff looked pretty much how Djuna expected him to look. He was probably 30, and very clean cut. He wore the uniform—flannel and tight jeans with a blue beanie hanging off the back of his head. He was good-looking and white. Good-looking and white enough that life had probably been easier for him than most people.

“Hey, what’s up?” he said. “Do you want a coffee?”

Djuna quickly realized he was way too cool to shake her hand like a stuffy adult, and sat down at the nearest table with her notebook.

“No thanks,” she said. “I’m sorry I’m late.”

“That’s totally cool.” He sat down. She was likely younger than him, but felt like she was 20 years older.

“So,” she said, taking out her notebook and pen. She could have sworn he took note of her “old school” form of writing. “You’re the owner or the manager, or both?”

“Both, at the moment.” He was looking down at his phone, probably texting some skinny hipster girl who wore cropped shirts and hats. She resisted the urge to use that image in the article.

“Great. And when did this place open?”

“About 6 months ago. Been doing pretty well.”

“Cool.” He still wasn’t looking at her, he was doing some kind of hand signal to the barista. “So tell me, Jeff, what is unique about this place?” Bullshit questions demand bullshit answers, she thought. But what was she supposed to ask?

“Well, most people think our ordering system is pretty rad.”

“Your ordering system?”

“Yeah, so instead of ordering from a barista, who could easily get your order wrong or whatever, customers place their orders on the iPads.”

Djuna turned around and looked at the line. Customers were indeed tapping orders into a series of iPads lined up by the entrance, like the self check-in machines at the airport. Well, that accounted for the eerie silence.

“The baristas then read the orders off of iPads by the bar and prepare the orders, then place them on the counter with the customer’s name and order number written on them. You can even place your order on your way over with our coffee app.”

Djuna felt her molars involuntarily clench.

That night, she sat at her computer typing and deleting sentences she knew she couldn’t put in the article. If this is the way of the future, I chose to live in the past. DELETE. This local café-owner not only replaces paid workers with machines, he’ll make you feel like a machine with his human-interaction-free ordering system Why do people want to be machines so badly? DELETE.

The huge drawback to her job was that she wasn’t supposed to write anything negative about the businesses. The articles she wrote were just profiles of up-and-coming businesses, designed to help them. Essentially, free advertising. That part hadn’t been in the job description.

Procrastinating, she checked her email. Just in case someone had emailed her in the last five minutes. For once, there was a new message. It was from her boss, Eddie. Subject line: New Assignment. It was for an art show the next day.

Julian peered from inside his truck up at the sky outside. The fog had come in and it looked like rain, or at least a heavy mist. In any case, no one was going to want to sit outside. He sighed, and went out to stack all the tables and chairs. He couldn’t afford yet to get any other employees, so he did everything himself. Which was actually kind of nice, most of the time. If he wanted to take some time off, he could. If he wasn’t getting any customers that day, he could pack up and go home. It was nice to be free.

He decided to leave the truck locked up and take a walk through the park. He particularly liked the way the mist made the leaves of all the trees and bushes wet and shiny. Maybe he would go to his old neighborhood and see which businesses had changed. He had hardly been back to the Inner Sunset since he moved out of the converted garage. It made him nostalgic, somehow, to go back there. Not that his life had been particularly wonderful when he had lived there, but something about the past always had a silver glow to it. He wondered if even people with horribly disappointing lives still felt nostalgic, if there was ever any escape from it. It only piled up more and more as he got older, like stacks of old magazines slowly taking over a room.

He had thought that breaking up with Liz would be a relief, and it was. But now he was alone. He had a few friends that he could call up on his days off to get a beer, but he wasn’t really close to anyone. Every new person he met seemed to have the same story—they just moved to San Francisco a couple months ago from the shitty town they grew up in and already had a whole bunch of complaints about the public transport and the people and how expensive it was. He hadn’t met someone who was truly passionate about the City since… well, Djuna. Two years ago.

He had seen her twice– without her noticing him, he presumed. The first time was a few days after they unofficially parted ways. He had decided he would try to talk to her, that he really wasn’t that mad about what had happened at the festival, that he was sure it was just a moment of confusion, that he had had plenty of those moments in his life, and who was he to judge her for it. He had decided he would go to her house and ring her doorbell and that if she answered and let him come upstairs, that he would let her explain and tell her it was ok, and hopefully everything would be mended.

He had just rounded the corner when he saw her coming out of her apartment, smiling like the Cheshire cat. He stopped and instinctively stood behind the nearest tree. She turned around and put her hands out to the person coming down the steps behind her. Julian held his breath to see who it was. A man emerged and took her hands. He was short, but well-built and good-looking. She hugged him—a long and lingering hug—and then he kissed her cheek and walked off in the other direction. Djuna went back inside.

Julian sighed thinking back on it. He had been so angry at the time at something that now seemed so obviously different than what he had assumed. His second sighting of her—several months later—had confirmed his stupidity. Djuna in a rainbow dress at the Pride Parade, holding hands with the same man, dressed only in leather underwear and holding a sign that said “EQUALITY FOR ALL.” Why hadn’t he called her then? It had seemed too late, as if he had missed his chance. He finally understood a wise saying of his mother’s. Love was not a thing, it was a time. It was being in the right place at the right time, and their timing was out of joint.

Julian reached the Dinosaur Grove, an unofficial name for the part of Golden Gate Park with massive ferns, and decided to turn back. He was exhausted from the week. He had made a lot, but the quantity of customers also meant long days. He couldn’t afford to turn them away just because he had been working non-stop for over 10 hours. He was almost glad the weather had been unfavorable today.

Every new person he met seemed to have the same story—they just moved to San Francisco a couple months ago from the shitty town they grew up in and already had a whole bunch of complaints about the public transport and the people and how expensive it was.

The Conservatory of Flowers was shining like a big white palace on the clouds and he thought something he had been too busy to think for a long time: what a beautiful paradise I live in. Some street kids who were probably going into the park to camp for the night were walking towards him, their long blond dreadlocks swaying above their faded tie-dye sweatshirts.

“Hey man, you need some bud?” one of them yelled.

He smiled and shook his head, then kept walking past them. The thought of going back to his empty apartment alone made him feel sick. If it wasn’t so cold and getting dark, he would have stayed in the park for hours just to avoid it. He took out his phone and texted his friend Joey:

Hey. You wanna grab a drink in the Haight?

Joey was kind of annoying, but was always up for going out whenever Julian asked. He was married with a young daughter, and didn’t have many friends, Julian suspected. He imagined that anytime a friend actually called him up, his wife probably encouraged him to go out.Juxtaposition-photographic-arts

An immediate reply read

Sure, see you in 20 at Hobson’s?

Julian smiled. At least there was one person whose life was less eventful than his.

Sounds good.

Julian headed out of the park and through the growing agglomerations of street kids lining Haight street. Hobson’s Choice specialized in rum drinks, but was also a sort of local sports bar. They had a nice little upstairs with arm-chairs and TVs with different games on. In the past few months, Julian had explored many of the bars on Haight, and found this one to be one of the less dodgy ones. He appreciated a good dive bar, but when a bouncer informed him that none of the bars on Haight had dart boards because the types of people who came in couldn’t be trusted with throwing sharp objects, he made a decision to stick to the nicer places.

He sat down at the bar and ordered a beer, then slumped in his stool, his hand slowly becoming wet from the condensation of the glass, staring mindlessly at the screen where tall men tried to get an orange ball through a metal loop. After he took his first sip he realized how much he didn’t want to be there, had no desire to talk to Joey, and would much rather be curled up in bed with the book he had been too tired to open for the last week. His mind started to go through excuses he could use to get out of the rendezvous. Joey lived close by, so it wouldn’t be more than a slight annoyance to go back home. He could tell him something came up with his truck and he had to fix it, or that he felt sick all of a sudden.

“Hey,” somebody next to him said.

Julian cringed. Damn, Joey was here and now he would have to spend at least an hour with him. “Hi–” He looked up and realized as he spoke that the man was not Joey.

“Don’t I know you?” the man said, slurring. “Hey, Jill! Another whisky!”

“I don’t know,” Julian said truthfully. He kept facing forward, not wanting any trouble.

Julian let go of his beer, realizing he had inadvertently gripped it harder and it was cramped.

“Damn, my wife is calling me,” the drunk man said. “Old ball and chain.”

Julian didn’t say anything, hoping he would just walk away and leave him alone. He tried glancing sideways at him again, to try to figure out if he knew him.

“Don’t tell her I’ve been drinking– we’ve already broken up a few times because of it! But she always takes me back… that girl will never learn,” the man continued.

Julian tried focusing his mind on the words go away, just go away, I’m not in the mood for this tonight as hard as he could.

The man was silently looking at his phone, so Julian turned and looked at him fully. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he had known who it was all along. And when he thought about it, he knew who the wife might be too.

 

The gallery was actually a boxing gym in a warehouse in Potrero Hill. Paintings were tied to punching bags and hung on the ropes of the boxing ring. Purple waves and faces anchored in speckled trees populated the floating canvasses. Djuna slid from one to the next until she realized she was the only one looking at the paintings. Attempting to seem less reporter-like, she clutched her white wine and made her way slowly around the room. Everyone seemed to know each other already, giving Djuna the distinct feeling that she had been given a pity invitation to the popular kid’s house party. Which is why the next thing that happened, which normally would have made her stomach churn, left her feeling relieved from her own awkwardness.

A tall ethnically ambiguous idol turned on her stiletto, her half-lidded smoky eyes connecting with Djuna’s.

“Heyyyyy!” Naya said, spilling a bit of white wine out of the side of her plastic cup.

“Hey, Naya,” Djuna replied timidly.

“Oh my god, I haven’t seen you in sooo long, where have you been?”

“I’ve been around–”

“Oh my god, I can’t believe how much Scott sucks now, right?”

“What– I don’t know anything about–”

“Like seriously, you’re going to marry that French girl after knowing her for like two weeks? I mean, she’s obviously after a greencard.”

“I didn’t know about that. I actually haven’t talked to Scott in–”

“He is so annoying now, like he never comes out, he just sits at home and drinks whisky it’s so fucking lame…”

Djuna knew that when Naya’s sentences started running together it was time to get out of the situation as soon as possible. Yet Naya somehow made it impossible to escape.

“… it’s like if you wanna get married, that’s fine you know, like I’ve got other guys knocking on my door all night long, you know? You know! Like, I don’t need you that bad, I’ve got all kinds of stuff going on, ok? And like he sat me down and was all like ‘I can’t sleep with you anymore’ and shit, and I’m like ‘yeah right, you’ve only cheated on all your girlfriends with me, we’ll see how long your wife lasts.’ And it’s like, I thought we were friends, you know? But now that he’s all married and shit he’s not even gonna talk to me? Plus she thinks he doesn’t drink anymore, but he does, I know, because he drunk texts me all the time being like ‘I wish I wasn’t married’ and shit. She totally knows, that stupid French girl totally knows, but she doesn’t do anything about it, you know? Look, look at these texts he sent me!”

Naya pulled out her phone and started scrolling through green speech bubbles.

“No, Naya, I don’t need to–”

“Look at this shit– 3:32am: Hey. Hey?? I mean, who writes that at 3:32am? It’s obviously a booty call.”

This went on for quite some time, and Djuna eventually tuned it out. Her only comfort was knowing she would be able to recount this event to Henry that night over cocktails.

Djuna knew that when Naya’s sentences started running together it was time to get out of the situation as soon as possible.

Julian had set up his small coffee & pie cart on 16th and Mission that evening. He found that if he sold enough coffee with his little cart on some days, he could better afford his mobile book caboose, which was far more expensive to keep up. He had made friends with Javier, one of the men who sold bacon-wrapped hot dogs, and since they didn’t sell the same thing, the man had invited him to set up his cart next to his. They found that on many days they both did better when they sold next to each other, especially hot days where people wanted some iced tea to go along with their hot dog, or, as in this case, some coffee to help them sober up with their drunk munchies. It hadn’t gotten to that peak time yet, but Julian wanted to reserve the spot early.

He had noticed half an hour sgo that a crowd had begun gathering next to the Bart station, but he’d had a pretty consistent line of customers, and hadn’t had a chance to really see what it was. There was a Latina woman in the middle with a picket sign he couldn’t read from where he stood. Music was playing on a little cheap boombox, mostly upbeat Mexican tunes.

The customers had thinned out, so he decided to lock up his cart for an hour and take a break. Maybe he would see what the reason for the crowd was. There were all kinds of people there now, young and old and of all races. Some rode around the station on bikes, ringing their bike-bells. He scanned the crowd and read a few of the signs.

STOP EVICTIONS NOW

FUCK THE GOOGLE BUSES

EVICTED FROM MY HOME OF 32 YEARS

  1. MAYOR PLEASE DON’T LET TECH TAKE OVER

GENTRIFICATION MEANS EVICTIONS

SAVE THE MISSION

He stopped to take a flyer from one of the women handing them out. She was a middle-aged white woman with scraggly black hair who looked tired, but animated at the same time. Like she had stayed up all night and was running on all the empty energy her body could muster. She reminded him a bit of his mother, the way she had looked when she was tired.

juxtaposition-photographic-arts

“People are being evicted from their longtime homes so that rich tech hipsters can live in a ‘vibrant’ neighborhood,” she said, “but all the vibrant people are being kicked out. Hardly anyone but techies can afford to live in the city anymore.”

“I’m having trouble making rent myself,” he said.

“You have the coffee truck, right?” she said.

He couldn’t quite read the tone of her question, but he hoped she wasn’t implying that he was just another hipster gentrifying the city.

“Yeah, I’m just trying to make ends meet running a small business, but my rent is so high I sometimes have to work 15 hours a day to make ends meet. And then you see these terrible, ugly immaculate coffee shops with no character charging $6 for a cup of coffee and all the people waiting in line, who all look the same… So I get it.”

She smiled.

“Hey, do you want some coffee?” Julian asked, “It’s on the house.”

“Thank you! I was starting to lose energy,” she said.

Julian unlocked his cart and poured her a fresh cup. She walked up to the cart and he handed it to her.

“You’re a nice kid,” she said. “I hope you’re able to open that coffee shop one day– I’ll be the first one to come in and buy a cup.”

“Thanks,” he said.

She returned to her post handing out flyers, some color restored to her pale cheeks from the coffee. It was in that moment that Julian realized why he had so badly needed to break up with Liz.

 

“And then she just kept going on and on for like, a full 30 minutes,” Djuna told Henry. They were sitting in Djuna’s living room, as usual, drinking improvised cocktails, although Henry had been uncharacteristically quiet the whole time she recounted that evening’s tale.

“Wow,” Henry said. “And she basically just said to your face that Scott cheated on you with her?”

“Basically, yeah. I don’t think she even thought about that. She’s so… in her own world.”

“Jesus.” Henry’s eyebrows went up as he sipped his drink. “What a bitch.”

Henry stared at the wall, a vague smile on his face.

“What’s that?” Djuna said.

“What?”

“That little smile.”

Henry blushed ever so slightly, but Djuna could see it.

“What is it?” she insisted.

He scratched the back of his neck, his smile widening.

Djuna gasped melodramatically. “You met someone!”

Henry rolled his eyes and looked down.

“Who is he?!”

A dramatic pause occurred while she stared him down until he answered.

“His name is Sebastian…”

Djuna gasped again and started giggling. “Details! Details! How did you meet?”

“Well, that’s the embarrassing part.”

“Where?”

“Well…”

“Where where where?”

“Speed dating.”

“You went speed dating without me?!”

“It was for gay men!”

“Ok, that’s fair. What’s he like?”

“Well, he’s the same height as me, for one, which makes me feel better–”

“I’ve told you, you’re not that short, Henry!”

“You know how brutal gay men can be! We’re very hard on our own kind.”

“True. What does he do?”

“He’s an office manager for a law firm.”

“Fancy. What does he look like?”

“Super cute, brown hair, green eyes, more buff than me but not so buff it makes me feel bad, dresses classy.”

“Is he nice, charismatic, sweet, what?”

“Very sweet, a little shy at first, but a good conversationalist.”

“How many dates?”

“Four.”

“Four?!”

“In the past week.”

“Four out of seven days you saw him?”

“Yep.”

“Why didn’t you tell me before?”

“I didn’t see you!”

“Cause you were on all those dates.”

“Yeah, pretty much.”

“Wow… it must be pretty serious.”

“Well, not really serious yet!”

“But getting there. Going-to-be serious.”

“Probably. Hopefully. We’ll see.”

“Henry likes a booooy!”

“Shut up!”

Djuna groaned.

“What, what is that groan for?”

“My love life.”

“Bad?”

“Sad.”

“Sad?”

“So sad. And alone.”

“You’re married to your job, my friend.”

“And the only people I meet through my job are douchey techies.”

“I always thought that guy was nice– what was his name? The eyes like rivers?”

“That was two years ago! And you never even met him!”

“He seemed nice though.”

“Yeah, but I fucked it up.”

“How?”

“I don’t know. I just– it got weird, with Scott.”

They were rather tipsy now. It was the point in Henry’s tipsiness where he was prone to long rambling speeches. He put his hands on Djuna’s shoulders and looked in her eyes.

juxtaposition-photographic-arts

“Djuna. Djuna listen to me. Listen to me. You may be the daughter of two women, two Amazons who named you after a Sapphic Modernist from the twenties who fucked everyone, you may have grown up like a bohemian in a town that is now expelling its bohemians in favor of young aristocrats, you may be a poet, a beatnik, a flower child, a dreamer, but you are still a daughter of privilege. You can brush your hair and buy new clothes and be a businesswoman, you can run meetings and hold manila folders to your chest and tell people to get you lattes, and you can marry any man you want even if you just met him that day. You can do that because you are a pretty white chameleon. You are not a short effeminate gay guy who can only get married in certain states, and before that couldn’t get married at all and would be scared to walk down alleyways alone and would be told he wasn’t the right fit for jobs– yes we live in a happy bubble of acceptance, yes, but there are places in this country where that is just as true as it was forty years ago. You don’t have to fight anyone to love who you love, and I am telling you this not to make you feel bad, not to motivate you to fight for the cause, because you have stood next to me and fought for the cause, I’ve seen you do it, but because it is so easy for you to go out and get what you want and nobody– nobody– is going to tell you that you can’t do it. So you say you fucked it up, it’s over, but you still mention this guy after two years, you still think about him– I know you do, I know you better than anyone right now– and you say you can’t do anything about it. But you don’t have society holding you back, you don’t have any people coming after you, any churches making signs about you, attacking the very person that you are, so if you really liked him, if you still think about him, you need to find him, you need to track him down and you need to tell him, ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry I fucked this up. I will do better this time around.’ Because you have nothing holding you back, nothing in your way but your own fear and doubt and awkwardness and inability to communicate. You are gorgeous and you are a wonderful person and you deserve that beautiful boy with eyes like rivers.”

Henry took a breath, Djuna smiled, and then they both broke into laughter.

 


Genie Cartier is a San Francisco native from the Haight Ashbury. Yes, her parents were hippies. In addition to writing, she is alsoGenie-Cartier-writer local circus performer & is regularly
featured in Literary Foolery, as well as occasional appearances with Hubba Hubba Revue, and Crescent Moon Theater. She co-hosts Poets Upstairs on the second Sunday of every month at Overland Books.

If you have fiction in need of a good home, please see our submission guidelines

 

 

 

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