wild writing - what the living do

this is the everyday. most days i don’t set an alarm. bean wakes me. he has the breakfast shakes at 7:30AM. even on sundays and i wished he understood what weekends are. i don’t bother putting on pants to go downstairs and feed him. drop the food in his bowl with a handful of cooked green beans because i am now that person who cooks for their dog. i drink some water. i contemplate more clothes but upstairs is so far away, i let the dog out and stand on the back porch in a t-shirt and underwear in the dead of winter grateful for tall fences. clothes are too complicated in the morning. i make caffeine happen. i open my journal. i write the date. i write one line. i’m here. i’m still here. this is good news to someone i’m sure. i close the book. i drag my feet. i brush my teeth while bean licks my naked calves. i finally figure out pants. reluctantly. i watch my husband sleep. his arms overhead like the inflatable waving balloons outside of car dealerships. in 10 years of being together we’ve never had a car. we’re city people. bus people. i think about how this has shaped me. i rode the bus in los angeles in 1999. i took it from hollywood to west hollywood every day for almost 2 years and left the city after being pushed off the bus by a homeless person. i spilled onto the street, out onto sunset blvd like a bag of trash. this was probably not a good place for me to be anymore.

i sat on the sidewalk for awhile. that’s the thing with falling. i don’t remember how i got to the ground. what shapes did my body make on the way down. i can only imagine the cartoon banana peel way of falling, all arms flailing in circles but i’m sure mine was less flail and more bracing. and the impact. knees scraped, one worse than the other. palms, gravel embedded. i rolled over onto my butt and sat, taking stock of the damage. i didn’t even notice for awhile that the driver had gotten off the bus. not to help me, but to wrestle the homeless guy to the ground 10 feet away from me. both of their necks and faces were engorged. red. sweaty. i couldn’t make out what they were yelling. did i hit my head? i don’t remember. it didn’t hurt. my hearing felt muffled and underwater until a shrill voice coming from the bus pierced through like i had broken the surface of a lake. a woman with too much makeup on had opened a window and her shiny fire engine red lips were moving.

“You!” she yelled. “Do something!”

no one else was outside. just me and the two men fighting next to me. that’s the thing about LA. no one was ever outside on the sidewalk. cars were safer i guess. she must have meant me. i had just tumbled out of the #2 on sunset like a piece of wayward luggage and she was looking at me like i was the only person in the world who could do something. i will never forget the throbbing vein in her neck, showing through the thin crepey skin of her throat. people were so angry here. i was so angry here. i never should have moved here.