Something is falling. On my desk, to the left of my keyboard, is a small plate with meat, a pen, a cup of red tea so dark it’s ox-blood, and David’s hat like a black ikon, the object everything else is arranged around. Today I wore it like a talisman, not against the weather, but against myself, as a ward against memory, against remaining asleep. I missed him when I was gone, but couldn’t imagine how he’d fit where I was, where his place might be.
I arrived late by five hours, and felt lost, though my mental map of the city is beginning to be more accurate than that of some people who live there. The accident threw my nerves, the never-ending wait at the border had softened them, and my head hurt from hitting the window. Thankfully, I like the city I was left in, like it better than the one I currently call home, so I stayed happy, refreshed by the place rather than the trip to. Joseph didn’t pick up when I called, but Adam did, and plans were made to meet, to find haven up on Capital Hill. By the time I got there, however, what with Seattle transit only running on a half hour schedule, (which is mad), Joseph was on his way. Clever boy, calling my obvious second shot in the dark.
By the time I got to Broadway, we were four over dessert, sitting as two couples, but three relationships. Cousin/not-cousins, ex’s who never were are’s, connections described in tiny arcs, sparking, amused, created from joyful assumption, certain history, and fact. Over cake we decided to head out to a birthday party, a burner thing up on yet another hill, new people, a new house, somewhere I had never been. I rode with Adam and Anna, as Joseph was nervous of me on his new bike. He’s only a neophyte driver, two months in, on a bike I wouldn’t call a starter. Later I would ride with him, later with less people on the roads, less complexity to our uncertain route.
The party was nice, pleasant people in a pleasant house owned by a famous circus performer who was unfortunately out of town. We sang Happy Birthday, ate cake, and sat in the attic, then in the hot-tub, and got used to being in the same place again, our names transformed into something more colourful, a little more happy, flowing like water from each other to ourselves, warming the hollow under my ribs. Life as a you-had-to-be-there joke, like the importance of soapy water and “thank you, I work out.”
By the time Joseph and I peeled away, it was late enough to go dancing, a staple of our visits, something I haven’t done since I was last in Seattle. We went first to Noc Noc, where we spent an entire night once, but the music was terrible, so we headed off soon to the Mercury, the private goth club, where we had spent out New Year’s, back before we knew each other. Unfortunately, it became private to skirt smoking laws, so it might have better music and friendlier clientele, but that only goes so far when it comes to dancing in carcinogenic fog. It was wonderful to finally move, but eventually I had to give up, so it was there in the black nail-polished dark that I finally pulled out Joseph’s lap-top and got in touch with David, somewhere around three in the morning.