Brian opens windows, leaves doors ajar, while we wait for the rain to push over the city. It comes slowly as if it knows we are holding our breath. It won’t end the drought, but at least dampen the kindling covering the city. The cat lounges on the window sill enjoying the absence of man-made borders and limitations.
We find a friend in a courtyard. An octagonal structure filled with ice cream cake and people sit in a corner. Projected images float on the structure and building. It reminds of a grounded, grown-up version of the tree-house. The mythical childhood place where prisoners are taken, kings and queens crowned. The images are a version of something I have seen before. I am more intrigued by way the light flows through the air than by the artist’s performance or construction. I talk around it, Brian talks about it. I am in the midst of answering the question “what purpose does art serve?” when we let a friend guide us away.
Walking down a city street. Wide enough to hold four lanes of cars, but lacking a sidewalk. Gas station. Empty pay phone. Bottle of wine. Six-pack of beer. Hipsters on bicycles. People talking on front porches. I have not been to a stranger’s house party since college. I cannot remember the proper etiquette. Looking around, I know I am out of place in a specific way. My hair is cut short and that is the only thing that gives me a chance. Otherwise, my Vans are not Toms, my jeans are not acid washed, torn, or paint splattered. My t-shirt is just that. Blank, no graphic, no band name. All that plus the mere fact that I am a female wearing the plain garb of a male. No tights, no heels, no fashion. My shirt is a shirt, not a vintage dress or a shirt turned into a dress. I haven’t bothered to put on jewelry in months, and I save heels for occasions of sitting. We carry on, with each other, then with others. The bottle of wine is half gone and the extra beers have been given to friends. I hug them all goodbye, and I know that I am drunk.
I ask the question: What do you miss? For us, it’s mostly friends. I haven’t felt it since I left home. Brian has missed it from Chicago. Is is that curse: people come and go, people come and go. It’s a mantra for some. An excuse. The miles between us dilute our relationship. I have a home here, with Brian, but I miss the meeting places of a family. For us, back home, it was the Jimmy. For us, here in Austin for awhile, it was Dog and Duck.
Last night the storm was beating the scorched ground. The shed leaves are two steps closer to soil. The cat shouted to come in. I stayed up for awhile, listening. We had spent the evening looking at art and I couldn’t remember any of it. I remember the leaf I pulled from a puddle of water on the table at the bar. I remember watching the exhaled chemical cloud floating in the night sky. In the morning, I wanted the world to look different. It simply looks like it rained. The door is open and water is still dripping onto the cement. The humidity creeps in and sinks into our clothes, dampens the pages of our books.