Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis is a main street through the heart of downtown. Only police cruisers, buses and bicycles are allowed on the street. Ornate light posts, flower beds and art sculptures decorate the brick sidewalks. Many restaurants, bars and retail stores live in the ground floors of behemoth sky scrapers and decorative relics of the past century. It's always bustling with people, especially in the summer. Live music and outdoor eating every day, Farmer's Market on Thursday afternoon. The city and especially Nicollet comes alive in summertime.
There are also a variety of free outdoor festivals in the summer, one being Guinness and Oyster fest. A sea food restaurant on the mall set aside a Sunday to provide live music, Guinness and oysters to landlocked Minnesota folk. Boy, oh boy!
After two anxiety ridden hours waiting for the foxy babe, she finally showed up. We put her bike in my apt and walked over to the Mall.
Six oysters for five dollars and a Guinness for three. We grabbed beers first and sat down at a plastic white table. Kids were playing bocce ball in the street, which was quite funny due to the convex shape of the asphalt draining all the balls toward the gutter.
We talked, (anxiety still rustling in my belly, over and about this siren). This day was different, I could feel something like autumn fast approaching with its brisk winds. I didn't feel the soft warmth that usually absorbed me when I was near her. I wasn't making her laugh. I was forcing conversation...
We got in line for oysters. Kitchen hands were standing over boxes of ice filled with oysters, shucking the oysters frantically. I commented on how tough that job must be.
We sat at a different plastic white table gulping our oysters down, (/me nervous), with cocktail sauce and lemon. In front of a toothless, homeless bag lady inches away asking us for money more anxiety different but same same... Enjoying luxury doesn't settle well with me these days.
The foxy blond haired, blue eyed, babe vixen gave the toothless, homeless, bag lady a dollar and asked if I wanted to take a walk.
My anxiety eased but the cool autumn wind picked up and bit in me as it whistled through the buildings like canyons in Utah. The sun was vanishing in an overcast haze and I was feeling chills.
We walked for blocks, admiring old architecture. Pointing out interesting relief and neat facades. From each light post were hanging baskets of petunias. From one I heard "chirps". Many little chirps replying to one big "chirp". I paused,
"Did you hear that?" I asked.
"Listen" (the baskets were above our heads so we could not see, but only hear momma and babies sing their food song).
She smiled. Standing there looking into her eyes I backed under an adjacent basket, the petunia leaves adhering to my stubble face, the flowers flowing over my ears.
She closed her eyes.
I said "How do you like my hair do?"