Early morning light filtered through Venetian blinds. The bed supple, the down comforter warm. Knowing this day needed to be started, I slipped out of his bed, out of this feather soft nest of dreaming, and quietly padded toward the bathroom. I have never awakened in his bed before. I have never slept in his bed before. We have been together since April and have slept in other beds, in other rooms, in other houses, in other cities, in other states, but never in the luxury of his king-sized bed. I like his bed.
He made a murmuring sound in his sleep, I froze, he stirred, but he remained on that ragged edge of sleep. For this I am grateful.
The clock on his night stand table in the chiaroscuro, illegible without my glasses, but I guessed it was somewhere between 6 and 7AM. Venetian blinds are something new to me. I have no window treatments on my windows at home. No lacy curtains, no shades, no blackouts. I am always up with the birds. At home, the first thing I see every morning is treetops, clouds, and dawn streaking her way across the canyon skies through a set of French windows or the oriel on the southern end of my room. Sometimes there are rainbows cast by the crystals I have hanging there. Light caught in the prisms and refracted onto the walls and antique furniture, the rosewood floors, and the ceilings, spattered with glow-in-the-dark stars.
It's odd brushing your teeth in someone else’s bathroom. He uses Trader Joe’s anti-plaque toothpaste with fennel, propolis and myrrh. I load my toothbrush, left on the counter the night before, with this liquorish tasting wonder, this gourmet treat, and brush as I glance around this foreign space at the things he has collected. A Picasso-like drawing in a plastic box frame over the toilet, a black and white photo of an African American woman, she looks familiar, Ella Fitzgerald? 3x5 pictures of me, taped onto the mirror, or propped against the back splash. The one of me wearing the green knee socks, the socks I bought after reading Richard Fariña’s “Been Down So Long It looks Like Up”, the photo taken a few days after I returned from Peru where I had gone on an ill fated magazine assignment. Another one taken recently on a summer morning, while we were relaxing on my verandah after breakfast, after he had finished strumming my guitar, taken seconds before he has announced that he had to leave, had to go home, a home I had never seen. Me not wanting him to go. But needing him to go so I could get on with my day. There were other photos I had not seen before taken that same morning. A morning soft with love.
I tiptoed back into his bedroom, stealthily retrieved my glasses, my iPhone, a ring I wear on my right hand, the head of an Indian chief, his head dress adorned with mother of pearl, bits of onyx, turquoise, and coral, a silver necklace, the gift from a past lover, and my cornflower blue silk blouse unceremoniously dropped to the floor the night before. I then crept out of the room once again. The clock now no longer a blur read 6:23AM.
I am silently praying he won’t awaken. I treasure my mornings. The quiet time when I can write undisturbed.
I finish a node on a childhood memory and post it, start one on chestnut soup, and then get the inspiration to start this daylogue. Today is one of the most important days of my life. It is something I have wished for for many years, and now the dream has come to fruition.
I write for awhile.
I hear him one room away, moving about, then I see him naked in the doorway, searching dark corners for me. He comes to me, plants a kiss on the top of my head. I reach out and stroke him, fondle him. He asks me what time I got up. I reply, he says he needs coffee. We don’t drink coffee at my house. I prepare myself for the aroma I know is eminent. Knowing I’ll be flooded with memories of other days and other times. He respects my need to write. He disappears into the bathroom, I hear the drip of the coffee in the kitchen. I am totally unaware of him, have lost tract of him, until he sits in a squeaky chair with his back to me sipping the freshly brewed coffee. I glance up, he has dressed. He’s reading the NY times online. I continue to write.
He mentions breakfast. We decide to go to a nearby taco stand for breakfast burritos, common street food made elegant, but first he stands before me, one foot on the coffee table, a guitar balanced on his knee, strumming a good morning song for me, as if he senses how much music means to me and how much I miss it in my life. Tears well up in my eyes. I contain them, I do not permit them to spill.
We drive to breakfast. It is always amusing. His wry observations about life entertain me. I drop him at home. Minutes later I am navigating the 134 freeway.
On my road I meet a car coming down the narrow, paper street upon which my house is precariously perched. Had I not sat in the car at the bottom reading my mail, I would not have had to back up onto the ramp of a driveway, hewn into the side of a decomposed granite mountainside next door to my house. It is easier to do this than to insist upon my right of way. So I fasten my seatbelt which I had taken off to get the mail and I try not to look over the cliffside as I cautiously back up.
I made good time 25 minutes door to door from his house to mine. I have the rare comfort of leisurely getting ready for my event tonight I take advantage of it.
Inside my room, after showering and dressing in the long black cotton summer dress I bought to wear in Tuscany last month, I pick up a drone flute, adjust the fetishes, practice scales, readjust the fetishes, finally get them right, and play a tune I want to play tonight before I recite Tiny Warrior. I am pleased with the sound and the drone. I gather the things I need, a tripod, a movie camera, a still camera, a purse, my computer, a shawl, opera length pearls, shoes, keys, then I lock my bedroom door and exit the house.
I set the GPS then head down the canyon to the corner drugstore, the one that used to be Thrifty Drugs, the one that used to have an ice cream counter with rainbow ice, the one where i used to take Daisy when she was small. The one where my mother used to take me, when I was a child. Now there is a 1 hour photo shop in that place inside the store, and I wonder what will replace that when people stop printing photos. I chose the cassettes for the movie camera, pay for them and leave.
I ignore the GPS telling me to take Fairfax, that would be insane on a Sunday late morning, especially driving through what we call The Borscht Belt. Instead I want to take Crescent Heights, wouldn’t you know; a movie company has it all blocked off for several blocks I take the detours, telling the GPS woman to shut up. I finally get to a point we both agree upon and merge onto the 101 headed west to Santa Monica.
I am sitting in a church on Hill street going over our set list for tonight. Dean has changed the reading to accommodate a slide show. Sunlight illuminates the stained glass windows, Jesus in a scarlet cloak, storm clouds gathering, a shaft of light shining down upon him, as he sits, hands folded atop a rock, in prayer . His window is flanked by two almost identical windows with Easter lily designs, angels, a star of David. One window in memory of Junior Sanders, the other a William Kestner . People begin to drift in. Some of them I know, we exchange greetings, I work on the set list correlating the books to the poems Dean has chosen based on our reading last Sunday at a book store in Echo Park. I get it done just in time to recite, Things I'll do now that he's gone and promote the show tonight. I notice I have three hours before the moment I have been waiting for for 5 years. I head over to the venue; I am an hour and a half early. I unload the car, take the book trolley into the book store. At 6:23pm I realise I have only 8 copies of the new book, Somehow I left the box at home, I am perturbed, I usually have a road manager to do silly things like that. I get into my car and head home on the surface streets, collect the books and somehow make it back to the venue at 7:10 for a 7:30 show.
During sound check, Kit my best friend from high school turns up. I am thrilled. We regale everyone with one of the only stories we can remember that’s worth telling; we broke into the drama classroom one night and changed the grades of our friend Susan who was failing Drama and in danger of not graduating. We changed several of her F’s to A’s. In the scheme of things it didn’t matter if she could emote or not. Right after graduation, she entered a monastery to become a Buddhist monk. She has spent her life in that monastery far up in the San Bernardino mountains. So Mrs. Shields, what difference did it make? You obviously couldn’t act either otherwise you’d have been a big star, instead of teaching a bunch of disinterested teen-aged high school kids who could care less.
My beau arrives, sets up the camera. The second I see him I know it will be a good show, because I can forget about the audience and make love to the camera, as I flirt with the “guy” behind the lens. My guy!