Ryan in the parking lot at CVS on Sunset. Two men argue under the awning & the sun’s just about gone down. We’re sitting, talking in the car, in the soft pink evening. Ryan running his palm soft along his jeans like he does when he doesn’t really know what to do. His lips a little apart.
Were you scared?, he says.
Yes. I say. I really was.
Or maybe, more like afraid?
Yes, like that exactly. I put my head, turned sideways, back against the headrest & he turns. You know what it felt like, it felt like sitting alone on the platform that time at San Ysidro, remember that time? Under the eaves of the Old Mission Station, only alone & swallowing salt.
He says, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I know you were inside it. I’m sorry, I don’t even know what I mean.
Yes, I say. I know what you mean, it’s okay. A woman in an old blue Mercedes pulls up to park beside us, she smiles as she steps out of her car.
He means on the side of the road, knees in the gravel & yellow grass & inside it.
He says, I’m sorry you had to suffer. I’m sorry I didn’t know you.
He reaches over. The night will be warm until late, you can already tell. The lights come on above the aluminum sign on the white block building across the Boulevard. Faded paint on concrete block & lit-white letters.
He starts to recite a line I was reading out loud the other night. Ryan with true sound, looking down at my hands.
The beautiful woman comes back to her car, she still has her sunglasses on & she takes them off. You guys look too handsome, she says. We all laugh & she’s got Joy Division playing as she drives away—Ryan smiling. The line is a fine-spun threshold. He pushes his hair back out of his eyes.
On Sunset we defy augury. There’s a tilting kind of attention in the dark pink light, what we call feeling. Wanting doesn’t matter—the readiness is all.
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