by Ann Kircher
Walking through my neighborhood I pass Skip’s Tavern — that place where someone bought a $1million lottery ticket. A couple dressed in feathery things, he with a mask and she with a very short skirt, pass and jump at me screeching.
The Lebanese guy in the corner store, with his big young eyes and dark eyebrows smiles widely and asks me how are my cats? True, I am buying cat food, but this is unfamiliar. I have practiced my few Arabic phrases with him and talked at length about his home in Beirut and the tragedy of Israel bombing it and now he is smiling, wide-eyed at me.
A young man, handsome, scruffy and obviously high, sits on the extreme edge of a bench in front of Wild Side West- the only purely lesbian bar left in San Francisco- and gesticulates at some invisible shadow finally stopping someone who passes down the street and engages him in his monologue.
In front of the Good Life Grocery a woman sits on a bench, alone, playing a harmonica and swinging her legs wildly. As I approach her I see that she is not as young as she appeared from a distance, and it becomes apparent that she is talking to herself in between breaths through the harmonica.
It is nearly Halloween.
I turn the corner past the public library and head down the dark hill toward my home. Tonight there is the most elegant sliver of a moon resting in a deep velvet sky. I am thinking about the earth turning on its axis with my spot on it slowly rotating away under the moon, soon to be revealed to everyone around the curvature of the earth. There is mystery somehow in that.
This is my neighborhood, Bernal Heights.