two hours

i don't really recommend walking from rockridge all the way down alcatraz past telegraph shattuck adeline turning right on ellis for a few blocks to david's house in the middle of the night, chainsmoking the whole way. it's not a good thing to do, but sometimes you don't really have a choice.

the way it happens is that after the dinner/dancing with friends you go to that show that he told you about a month ago because you love this band, you love it and you're the one who introduced him to them, damnit. it's your band, it's your show, it's a small venue but hopefully you won't see him and you think you can handle it if you do.

what you aren't prepared for is what happens. you scan and scan the crowd and never see him and the band is good but not as great as they used to be and you never see him there which is a relief. you're glad he isn't there. then it's over and you and the friend you dragged with you leave and you walk out and turn right on mission and he's right there, he's standing there on the sidewalk with some girl you've never seen before. he sees you and says hi and you say hey and then he says to your friend "hi michelle" but her name isn't michelle, it's amy and he knows that, he knows her. you don't really make eye contact or break stride but just after you pass him you turn around and spit "did you just call her michelle??"

he says "oh...uh...sorry...amy. hey amy. bye amys." he's saying all of this to your back as you're walking away and you don't turn around again. you get to the car and you cry all the way home and you know it's stupid and you know everything but it doesn't matter, you're just broken and miserable and alone. friend drops you off and asks what you're going to do now and you say you don't know. you feel surreal, it's just a bad dream but you go inside and you lie on the couch and you walk around a little and then you put on your jacket and a hat because it's cold and you take your keys phone cigarettes lighter and that's all. you tell yourself maybe you'll just wander around for awhile but you know where you're going.

you pass a few people on the way, most of them just say hi and that's okay, you say a vague hey back if you can manage it. some of them say more like "hey baby, smile, it's gonna be okay." you ignore them because you don't really think you want to make friends with the kind of people roaming the streets in the middle of the night. then you realize that you are one of those people.

it takes you 1/2 hour to walk there and you pass his house on the opposite side of the street and it's all dark and you know he's not there because he would never go to bed as early as 2.15 on a saturday. a guy standing in the shadows drinking from a bottle tries to talk to you, asks you where you're going and seems like he's going to follow you but he's drunk and slow so you just keep walking, maybe a little faster. and you duck around the corner and malcolm x school is there and you walk up to it and find a dark place to sit down. you can see across the corner to his house and you're looking and the drunk guy wanders into the street, looking up and down, you think he's looking for you but you're in the dark and your clothes are dark and you sit really still and then he goes away.

you imagine him in that girl's bed fucking her. and you know what he looks like when he does that, you know what he feels like and what he says. and you tell yourself you should go home but you can't so you tell yourself you will stay until 3 and then you have to go home. and you just watch, especially when you hear a car and then at 2.43 he pulls into his garage and it closes behind him. a little later a light goes on upstairs and you stand up. you stand there alone in the dark on the street and watch that square of light. you try to see motion behind it, an outline, anything. you think about a lot of things and you feel numb but you're glad he's home. and you watch the square of light some more and you hurt and you miss him and your head hurts and your lungs hurt and you wish you were home in bed.

you think about how you keep saying you're so over it, you don't love him anymore, and how that's so obviously bullshit and how sometimes people try to tell you that and you just get angry at them because you suspect that maybe if they would just agree with you it might become true. they say maybe it's okay that new guy didn't work out because maybe you're not ready quite yet and you hate that they're right, you know that part of that was just about connecting with someone, anyone, besides david. and then you think maybe if i had just one more night and you take out your phone to call him and then you put it back in your pocket. you take out your phone to call someone else and then you put it back in your pocket because there isn't anyone who can help you right now.

then you know that nothing can help you right now, not even him. so you watch his window a little more and then you start to walk back the way you came. this time you walk on his side of the street, right past his front steps, garage, under his bedroom window. you're walking quietly because you definitely don't want him to catch you sneaking past his house in the middle of the night but also you're holding your breath and trying to hear if he's playing music. you can't hear anything though. all you want is to run back but you know there's nothing to run back to.

once you turn back up alcatraz you feel only tired and you don't even know why you're doing this and you've never done this before but like i said, sometimes you don't have a choice.

then you just walk home.
slowly...because broken hearts can be hard to carry.