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Fog City Summer pt. 1 – Fiction

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Fog City Summer

Part 1
a San Francisco Romance

Excerpt from a Novel by

Genie Cartier


The first time he had seen her, she had been crying on a doorstep, but he hadn’t remembered it was the same girl until much later. It was the second time he saw her that her face stuck in his memory, the way a solar eclipse burns into your eyelids. For days her face lingered in his mind, slowly becoming gauzy and distant, like all memories do, until he saw her the next time. He knew her name, because he had asked her for it, like he did with all customers.

Djuna. She had spelled it for him. D-J-U-N-A. Like Djuna Barnes, she said. He had no idea who Djuna Barnes was until Wikipedia informed him later that evening that she was an American writer who played an important part in the development of 20th-century English-language modernist writing and was one of the key figures in 1920s and ’30s bohemian Paris.

Logically she should have looked ordinary to him– long brown hair, blue eyes, not particularly short or tall. In the short time he had spent in the City, he had grown accustomed to seeing beautiful fleece-wearing bookworms, fresh-faced without the layers of makeup you might observe in other areas of California. But there was something fascinating about the way she dressed and carried herself that held his attention. Her clothing was practical but flattering in a way that asserted her independence. Twice he had seen her in a long army-green waterproof-looking coat with fur on the hood. Today she had on a cautionary sweater doubled under it, and wool leggings with heavy black boots. The clinky jewelry around her neck and dangling from her ears gave her that hippie touch that seemed so quintessentially San Franciscan. Those legs. So strong and shapely through the leggings.

He repeated her name while he steamed the milk and gently let it flow into the espresso, the creaminess pulling the brown extract into concentric circles, which he then drew across the middle into a heart shape. He couldn’t quite make a leaf yet.

Djuna listened for her name to slip out of the young man’s lips. She arranged her notebook, pen, and cell phone on the small round table, and dragged the chair opposite her closer, so she could rest her feet on it. She risked another glance at the barista. The way his hands moved fascinated her. He was tall, but not gangly, his limbs and chest filled out with lean muscle, his skin tan. Perhaps of pacific-islander origin? It was hard to tell. His jeans were not suffocatingly tight, and his hair was not purposefully ruffled, nor was it covered with a knit cap.

She heard him call her name, pronouncing the D and J in perfect harmony. He slid the porcelain cup filled to the brim with foamy milk and espresso in the shape of a heart. She looked right into his river-hazel eyes and said “You’re new, right? What’s your name?”


Her cloudy grey eyes flashed up at him, and then she turned and went back to her table, her smooth neck and back to him. He wanted to keep talking to her, but his mind was an empty box devoid of normal conversation.


cranes-marie-cartierIn the short time he had spent in the City, he had grown accustomed to seeing beautiful fleece-wearing bookworms, fresh-faced without the layers of makeup you might observe in other areas of California.

Djuna stared at the blank page of her notebook and tried to imagine words on it. Her one day off work when she had time to spare and could write whatever she wanted, and nothing was flowing. A group of young hipsters stood up, their chairs squeaking as they moved backwards, and left the café. Julian immediately rushed over and started separating the dishes from the napkins and stacking them up his arm. She watched as he balanced them just long enough to get to the counter, where he let them slip into a basin, their porcelain bodies clinking against each other like wind chimes. Then he returned to the tables, rearranged them in parallel formations against the wall and wiped them down with a grey rag. She watched his arms as he did this. A distinct muscle popped out of his tricep as he lifted the table. Muscular, but not bulky. Not the shoulders of someone who goes to the gym out of vanity, she thought optimistically.

Julian realized that Djuna was now the only one in the quiet café. In a way, they were alone, but with the prospect of another customer coming in at any moment. He turned around and saw that she had been looking at him.

“Did you need anything else?” he asked, hoping that she would say yes.

Instead of answering his question, she said “Where are you from, Julian?”

This seemed to be a normal question in San Francisco, he later realized, as hardly anyone who lived there was actually a native. “Hawai’i originally. I moved around though. I just moved here a couple weeks ago.”

Her face changed. Her cheeks moved upward, and her eyes became smaller but brighter.

“Welcome to my city,” she said ceremoniously, as if she were personally in charge of it. And then “I’m sorry. You can go back to work if you need to…”

“What work?” he said.

Djuna coyly pushed the chair opposite her out towards him with her foot. “I’m not getting any work done either.”

She was surprised at her own forwardness, but something about knowing he had just moved and probably knew nothing and no one in the city gave her confidence. When he paused for a moment, she worried that he wasn’t interested at all, that he was only being polite, and now felt trapped into talking to her.

Then he sat down and said “What are you writing?”

She held her forehead in her hand, almost wincing in the way that she always did when she talked about her poetry for the first time with someone. “Well, as you can see, this is what’s called a blank page. But it’s supposed to be a poem.”

“Writer’s block?”

Before she could answer, a man walked in and made a straight line to the counter, tapping his fingers on its marble impatiently. Julian gave Djuna an apologetic glance, stood up from the chair and rushed behind the counter to take the man’s order. A dry cappuccino with three shots of espresso. He carefully made the foam, because the man was already annoyed, clearly a serious addict, and seemed like the type who would complain if it wasn’t perfect. He looked out and saw that Djuna was writing something now. He watched her head tilt to the side as she moved her pen across the page. How she touched the back of her neck, and ran her hands through her dark brown ponytail when she paused. More customers came in and started forming a line. He took the next order and the next, and the next. When the line was finally gone, she had disappeared.

Julian rode the N back to his flat in the Inner Sunset which he rented from the Chinese family upstairs. It was a relatively large studio apartment, converted and insulated from what used to be a garage. He had windows that faced the small backyard, which let in enough light to keep him from being depressed, and a small kitchen area with a fake marble island. He kept a few house plants, rosemary, mint and oregano, all of which he used for cooking. The apartment had no furniture except a bed, and since he had moved in five weeks earlier, not a single woman had set foot in it.

Julian had few possessions, but the ones he did have were precious to him. He had a modest collection of books and films, which in the absence of bookshelves, were stacked in the corner. He had been forced by several cross-country moves to pare down his selections to smaller and smaller handfuls, so most of them he now kept for their sentimental value– books his mother had given him, or ones signed by the author at the variety of readings he had attended in New AIDS-Memorial-Grove-Marie-CartierYork. His clothes were also in a neat stack next to the books, perhaps most urgently needing furniture to contain them. He saw no real need to buy anything else. He had become meticulous about saving his money over the years, and found that the elimination of unnecessary material possessions was the easiest way to do so. In any case, he had no plans to stay in this apartment longer than a year– meaning another move only made more difficult by heavy things– and very much doubted anyone would be visiting him at home anytime soon.

Lying in bed, Julian thought about what he might say to Djuna if he saw her again. As his eyes naturally shut with exhaustion, he saw her form behind his eyelids. She was wearing a silk dress with no underclothes, and he could see the outline of her curves through it. She lay next to him on the bed. Her hands touched his cheek, so as to draw his lips closer to hers. Her lips felt like cotton. He reached for her, wanting to pass his hands along her skin like a sculptor smoothing marble, but awoke alone in the dark cave of his room.

Djuna and Henry sat in her apartment holding a cosmopolitan-like drink that Djuna had improvised with a can of cran-apple juice someone had left in her fridge, lime juice out of a lime-shaped plastic container, and the vodka that always resided in the back of her freezer.

“I went out to a club in the Castro last night—do you know what that’s like?” Henry whined, sipping his drink from a mug shaped like a duck. He had recently split with his boyfriend Rodrigo, and many of their conversations now involved him complaining about the single gay life.

“I have indeed been to a club in the Castro before,” Djuna said, silently citing her many years of experience dancing at gay bars all over the city.

“I mean for a man, obviously. It’s like being in college again. The cesspool of hormones. And everyone looks at you like you’re a piece of meat hanging in the window. I can just read the look on every guy’s face as they pass by me.”

“What look?”

“The ‘he’s too short’ look.” Henry was very insecure about his 5’4” stature, and had over the years convinced himself that it had kept him from true love all this time. His size had often caused him to be mislabeled a “twink,” a classification which Henry strongly resented and refused to identify with.

“I seriously doubt that’s what every guy is thinking.”

“Djunafish, you know what men are like. They’re the same with women—” Henry proceeded to do his straight-guy imitation which sounded strangely like Andre the Giant. “That girl’s face is 5 but her boobs are a 9.”

“Do they really talk like that, though, or just in movies?”

“There are guys that really talk like that. Haven’t you ever watched reality television? Doesn’t matter if they’re gay or straight, men are shallow pigs, and they’re all judging you. And gay men are some catty bitches who want to tear each other down.”

“Doesn’t make sense to me,” Djuna said. “After all that gay people have been through… you’d think there’d be less, I dunno, gay on gay crime.”

“You’d think. Why do we all have to be fashion snobs who only care about what drapes match the couch?”

You’re not a fashion snob.”

“Clearly,” Henry said, the flick of his wrist presenting his plain t-shirt and jeans ensemble with the pomp of Vanna White. “And clearly, you don’t care much for interior design. Does anything match anything in this house?”

“Nope. And I like it that way.”

They looked around at the odd assortment of hanging cloths and varying styles of furniture, accented by piles of random junk, crystals and half-full jars.

“You’re such a ragamuffin,” Henry said, not without irony.

Djuna shrugged. “So, are you ready?”

“Ready for what?”

“You know.”

“No, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Djuna stared at him patronizingly. “Are you ready to talk about it?”

Henry’s jaw twitched, understanding. “Do I have to?”


“Can’t I just pretend it didn’t happen– we broke up, that’s it, that’s all there is?”

“No. Respect the ritual, Henry. It’s in place for a reason.”


“No. We promised each other we would make each other talk about this stuff.”

“I don’t wanna,” Henry whined like a toddler.

“If you’re not ready, that’s fine. But you’re going to have to talk about it eventually. You were together for a year.”

“Ok,” Henry conceded. “If you make me another drink.” He downed the last of his cocktail and held out the duck mug.

“I’ll work on the cocktail. You start talking.”

Henry took a deep breath. Djuna covered her hand with her sleeve and grabbed the cold vodka from the freezer.

“Where to start?” Henry said. “Well, I guess the main problem was his uncanny ability to manipulate me in order to get anything he wanted.”

“Uh, yeah. That would be an issue.” Djuna divided the last drops from the plastic lime into their cups.

After work, Julian still had energy, which was unusual.

Henry proceeded, with increasingly slurred syllables, to recount a heavily biased version of his dramatic split with Rodrigo, complete with Henry’s special brand of flawed impersonations. Djuna encouraged him to list all the things that had always annoyed him about Rodrigo, and then put on a Paul Simon album, which had always been her special trick for numbing the break-up pain. After an uncomfortably long time for him to be talking about his own feelings, Henry then insisted on hearing about Djuna’s love life and would not take no for an answer. Julian passed through her mind, and she thought of recounting every detail of their encounter to Henry, but the alcohol had congested whatever highway words take to travel from brain to mouth, so it came out something like: “There is a man who works at the coffee shop with eyes like rivers.”

Henry rolled his eyes, saying “this is what I get for being friends with a poet.” And then seeing her eyes droop, “I think we’d better both go to bed.”

“You can sleep on the couch if you need to,” Djuna said lazily.

“I’ll take a cab. With Rodrigo out of the picture somehow my bank account hasn’t been depleting as quickly.”

“See? Stay positive!” is what she thought she said, but it likely came out as a series of unintelligible mumbles.

“Alright, sweetie. I’m heading out. Here’s a glass of water. Don’t fall asleep in your clothes.”

“Henry, you’re so good to me.”

As he walked out the door, she felt more alone than she had ever felt, and she thought of calling Scott just to hear him say “hello?” but luckily the other parts of her brain talked her out of it and she changed into her pajamas and melted into bed.


Julian casually glanced out the window every so often in between tasks. He didn’t know very many people in the city, so seeing a familiar face was always nice, especially one that he happened to like. At three o’clock, she walked in, holding her notebook in her hands. Her sleek brown hair was loose, tickling her shoulders, and she wore a navy blue blazer with fitted jeans. When she removed her sunglasses, he saw the marks of exhaustion under her eyes.

Djuna smiled through her tired mask, and said “Hello.” Her head felt like it was being pressed between two firm pillows, a feeling only caffeine would alleviate, combined with water and rest. She was not used to dealing with the consequences of the fourth Cosmo anymore, and was consistently bewildered at how many she had once been able to drink in a night.

“You look like someone who needs espresso,” Julian said, when she failed to follow up her hello with an order. “How about a large latte? With two shots?”

“Perfect.” She looked around the café and saw that there was no one waiting to order, so she continued to stand at the counter, watching his hand grip the metal container in which milk was being steamed. “Can you show me how you make the heart?” she asked.

Her foggy eyes made him shiver with excitement, as if he were literally engulfed in fog when he looked directly into them and said “Are you ready?” She nodded, her eyes wide and fixated on the cup with the espresso at the bottom. He poured the milk slowly into the cup, his hands almost shaking with the added pressure. He slowly poured the creamy foam into the espresso, then pulled it across the cup when it was full to form a little heart. She giggled with apparent loopy hangover glee, the color that had been drained by exhaustion coming back to her face.

“That’s beautiful,” she said. She put her hands on the counter, casually cocking her hips to one side. “So what other tricks can you do?”

She watched him as he looked around, then picked up three apples from the bowl on the counter. “I haven’t done this in a few years,” he said.

He smiled. His smile softened his whole face. His eyes seemed greener, and she noticed little dimples in the creases of his cheeks.

He stood back from the counter and began to juggle the apples rather smoothly, his shoulders relaxed, his throws even, flowing into one another. She could hear herself giggling again. As a final flourish, he threw one up, spun all the way around and caught it again. She gave him a quiet golf clap. He took a modest bow and wiped the apples off with a rag before placing them back in the bowl.

“Very nice,” she said. “Where did you learn?”

“Picked it up in college,” he said. “I was part of a club.”

He seemed a little embarrassed at having revealed that last fact, so she said “I was in Shakespeare club in college. We performed amateur versions of Shakespeare plays. Not trying to brag, but I played Helena in Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

“She’s the best character,” he said, which made her smile. Then a slew of people walked in, and he politely said “excuse me.”

She went back to her table, watching him interact with a purple-haired middle-aged woman. She sipped her creamy latte, careful to preserve the heart on the surface. When she left, she placed the cup back on the counter, the foam image still intact.

When she returned to her apartment, she felt revived, by way of the espresso mostly, and decided that later that day she would get some exercise and walk through the park.

Shoeless, standing in her poorly lit kitchen, she took a modest amount of fresh broccoli and steamed it in a small pot with a flour sifter, sprinkling rosemary that she had picked herself from the bush down the street and dried. She put it in a small thrift-store-acquired bowl that said “Happy B-Day Mom!” at the bottom, and ate it as she waited for her pasta to cook.


The candlelight was warming her face and hair in a way that was almost too distracting for him to carry on a conversation with her.



After work, Julian still had energy, which was unusual. He got off the train a stop early at 9th and Irving, and headed straight for the park. The fading light made the tops of the trees glow, drawing him towards them. The arboretum would be open for another hour or so, and although it was summer, the fog darkened the sky. Though he had only lived near it a few weeks, Julian had quickly learned the multitude of pathways through the arboretum, and made his way straight to the circle of redwoods to sit on one of the benches. He would likely be undisturbed there, with the exception of the occasional group of high school kids scoping out a place to smoke pot.

The evening fog was coming in. He was glad to be wearing layers.

Djuna stepped off the 71 later than she would have liked. She would only have time for a short walk in the arboretum before it closed, and then would likely have to retreat to a nearby cafe if she wanted to get any writing done without freezing in the dark fog of the evening. For how much she loved the arboretum, she didn’t go there enough, and easily became lost among the trails if she tried to find a specific place. So instead, she wandered into it with nothing in mind. There was a field and a duck pond towards the front that were always occupied by tourists, and sometimes a crew of wild turkeys that were known to reside in the park, but Djuna always walked past those areas. Once you got onto the trails, you could explore all kinds of native plants from various regions in the world, all next to each other with little signs identifying each section. She came to the little Japanese-looking part that she recognized, with the wooden deck over the small pond. She could have stood there for hours, watching the light paint the water.

Her vibrating pocket ruined the moment. She  saw that Scott was calling her. She stared at the phone until it had rung so many times that the call was missed.

She touched the railing of the deck, and suddenly had the sensation that it was moving back and forth. She looked at the water in the pond, splashing from side to side, and realized that it was a small earthquake. Before she had a chance to get away from the pond, it had stopped already, the shake so slight that had she been at home, she might have thought it was just a large truck driving by.

Then she noticed that all of the light had been sucked out of the air.

She was surprised at her own forwardness, but something about knowing he had just moved and probably knew nothing and no one in the city gave her confidence.

Julian realized this was the first San Francisco earthquake he had ever experienced. The sunlight had mostly faded, and there were no working lamps nearby, only the glow of fog. He carefully felt his way out of the circle of trees, until he came to the Japanese pond, where he saw the figure of a woman next to the water. He recognized the curve of her waist.

“I think there was a blackout,” he said, and she turned around, startled at first. Her face was wet with moonlight, and he saw the small silver outline of a smile when she realized it was him.

“Julian,” she said.

“We should get out of here,” he said. “Hopefully the lights will come on soon.”

“What’s the best way out? I’m always getting lost in this place.”

He took her hand to lead her out, a firm, confident grip. She fought her immediate instinct to tear it away. Scott came into her mind for a half-second, but she pushed him away like rain under a windshield-wiper. She followed Julian through the trees until they came to a clearing that she recognized.

“I know this part,” she said, and immediately regretted speaking those words when he took it as a cue to let go of her hand.

“Everything is so much darker without the street lamps,” she said.

“And quiet. The buses must be down.”

“I need to take the 71 to get home…”

They had almost reached the gates of the arboretum. Other confused people were making their way to the gates and cursing the absence of buses.Marie-cartier

They went over to the nearest bus shelter to look at the little red screen that predicted the bus times. The screen was black. Djuna stepped out into the street and looked out as far as she could see. She squinted in the darkness. There seemed to be a huge congestion of cars a few block away, and when she looked harder, she realized it was because one of the poles that held up the bus lines had fallen across Lincoln Ave. She turned back to Julian.

“There is no way this bus is coming anytime soon.” She pointed at the scene a few blocks away. As he observed the same thing she had, she looked at the traffic lights. They didn’t seem to be working properly either. One was flashing yellow and the others were out completely.

“Maybe the N?” Djuna said.

“Yeah, we could walk up to Judah and check.”

There was a buzz in the air. Ninth Avenue was scattered with all kinds of people, milling around and excitedly sharing their experiences of the quake and subsequent blackout. They overheard bits of stories as they made their way through them: “… was in the shower, and almost slipped when the lights…” “… just filled my fridge with groceries, and now…” “… luckily, I still have all my Y2K equipment…”

“Look at that guy,” Djuna said, pointing at a man in purple spandex with a green Mohawk, holding a sign that said FLASHLITES 10$. “He sure jumped on that opportunity quickly.”

“I love this city,” Julian said, and Djuna felt warm bubbles travel beneath her skin, as if he had said that he loved her.

When they got to the N stop, there was a small crowd of people on their phones calling cabs and discussing street closures, so that seemed fairly hopeless too.

“How am I going to get home?” Djuna said, mostly to herself. “I could walk the whole way. It would take a while, but…”

“My apartment is a few blocks away,” Julian said, studying her face for a fearful or uncomfortable reaction. “You can stay there until the lights come on if you want.” As he said that, he found himself wanting the blackout to last all night.

To his surprise, she agreed. “I guess that’s the best option right now.” She looked at her phone. “I have no signal. Everyone must be calling everyone they know right now.”

They walked past a group of young hipsters on lawn chairs and a guy in a leather jacket blasting Culture Club out of a heavily duct-taped boom-box, before turning the corner towards Julian’s apartment.

“Just to warn you, I do live in a Chinese family’s garage,” he said.

“Sounds fine to me,” she said, unsure how serious he was. She raised an eyebrow, when he took out his keys, and let her in through a pair of manually opened garage doors in a modernized Victorian. “Oh, you really mean that you live in a Chinese family’s garage.”

He laughed. “What did you think I meant?” He opened the door for her and ushered her inside in a gentlemanly manner.

She was actually quite impressed with the renovation. It was still clearly a basement, but had been insulated heavily, and dressed up to look like a relatively ordinary studio apartment, as far as she could tell in the dark.

“Stay there a minute while I get the candles so you don’t trip over anything.”

It didn’t seem like there was much to trip over, since he did not appear to have any furniture.

Julian took out a bag of tea lights and started lighting them with a red plastic lighter. “Can you see well enough now?” he asked after six of them were lit.

“Yes,” she said.

“Here,” he said, handing two of them to her, “put these wherever you want to sit.”

She started to laugh.

“What’s so funny?” he asked. “My lack of furniture?”

I looked around and I noticed there wasn’t a chair,” she sang. “You know, Norwegian Wood? Just made me think of that.”

He smiled. “Just don’t light my house on fire. That’s what happens at the end, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, I think so,” she said. She settled on the rug that lay next to the bed, and put the candles on either side of her crossed legs. He pondered a way to get all of the tea lights he had just lit over to where she was, and settled on balancing them up his forearm.

“You’re really good at that,” she said as he sat down cross-legged in front of her, and removed the candles on by one. “I see you do it at the café with the dishes.”

So she had been watching him. A few times he had looked over at her, just as she was turning her head. He had tricked himself into believing it was a coincidence so he didn’t get his hopes up.

“The first time I tried it, I broke like seven dishes. Too ambitious.”

The candlelight was warming her face and hair in a way that was almost too distracting for him to carry on a conversation with her.

“Do you have a battery-powered radio?” she was saying. “Maybe we could find out what’s going on. With the blackout I mean,” she added when he didn’t respond immediately.

“I actually do have one, against all odds” he said. He got up and slowly made his way to the kitchen, walking out of the candlelight and into the patch of darkness. “Somewhere… When I told my mom I was moving to San Francisco, she was all afraid I would die in an earthquake or something, so she made me this whole kit with candles and a radio and stuff…”

He found it behind a box of cereal, and said a silent prayer that it had batteries in it. He switched it on, and a loud scratching sound came out of it. She stood close to him with the candle, so he could see the dials. He could smell the damp flower smell of her hair.

She watched him fiddle with the radio, until they could hear a man’s voice talking about the blackout. They could only make out little bits of it in between static, but the message seemed clear: “the cause is still unknown…” “…expected to last all night…” “…driving is not recommended…”

“Well, I think we get the idea,” he said.

They made their way back over to the rug and he switched off the radio.

“It’s not too much of a hassle for me to stay here, is it?” she said.

“No, not at all! Don’t worry, I wouldn’t want you to walk all the way back by yourself, with this mayhem happening outside.”

“Well, it looks like I’ll be here a while then,” she said, taking off her shoes.

In the darkness, she could see the outlines of his jaw, and his neck. Besides grabbing her hand in the arboretum, he hadn’t touched her at all. In fact, he seemed to be keeping a very gentlemanly distance from her.

“I just realized I have some ice-cream in the freezer that won’t be any good in the morning,” he said.

“You shouldn’t open the freezer, though. It will let all the cold out and everything else will go bad…”

“The ice-cream’s the only thing in there, so we might as well just eat it.”

“Well you don’t have to tell me twice,” she said, smiling.

She picked up some candles and followed him closely as he got up to go to the freezer. The heat of the candles and from her body being so close felt like the sun on his back. He opened the freezer door and pulled out the partially melted carton of ice-cream.

“What kind is it?” she asked.

“Cookie dough,” he said. “Do you like that kind?”

“Obviously. Who doesn’t?”

He opened a drawer and took out two spoons, the only things in the drawer besides a tarnished silver fork. Djuna set the candles down on the kitchen island, and due to the lack of chairs they stood leaning against the counter.

“I only have one bowl,” he said. “You can use it if you want…”

She laughed. “No, that’s ok. I’m not above eating ice-cream out of the carton.”

He like the way her plump lips savored the spoon.

“Did you know your eyes kinda look like rivers?” she said. She seemed embarrassed immediately after saying it, and turned away.

She felt him push the hair from her neck aside. His lips touched her shoulder, like flower petals brushing her skin. His body pressed hers into the counter. Another small kiss swept her neck. His lips were cold from the ice-cream, but she could feel the blood behind them. She turned to face him. He smelled like a forest.

She fit into his arms perfectly. He looked into her eyes with a sweet sadness she hadn’t noticed before. He dipped his head and kissed her neck, running his hands along the soft skin of her neck and shoulders. She was shaking. His strong hands circled her waist and felt the curve of her hips. If only he would kiss her on the mouth, kiss her thoughts away. A fog had engulfed her eyes and brain.

For the first time, she reached out and touched him, placing her hand lightly on his jaw. That small gesture relieved so much of the unbearable loneliness he had felt over the last few weeks. Her eyes seemed bluer in the light, as if the fog within them had cleared. He loved how she felt against him, trembling. He leaned in towards her, ready to finally feel her lips, but there was a sudden tickle in his quad.

She jumped back, at first not realizing what it was. Then she reached into her pocket and pulled out her cell phone. “I’m sorry,” she said, looking at the screen. “Of course,” she muttered to herself as she silenced the ringer. It was Scott.





Genie Cartier is a San Francisco native from the Haight Ashbury. Yes, her parents were hippies. In addition to writing, she is also a 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.
Artwork by Marie Cartier.

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