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We stepped outside into the smooth, evening fog – we shrank from the lights that filtered through, ignored the sound of laughter that seemed to follow us everywhere. We weren’t waiting for the train. Or maybe we were. Maybe we just stepped outside because it was too warm inside. Maybe it was because we felt like it was some kind of calling.
All I know is that it felt like falling.
San Francisco twists you up. The noise and the weather and the wonder and the dreams that ricochet like crazy fireflies. So many get lost, but some find themselves. I think I did a little bit of both.
And I’m thinking of that one time. That time we stepped outside to the J. But it could have been any one of a million times. It could have been never. It could be something my brain cooked up. It could be a tether. Some sick mind trick I can’t sever.
A strange endeavor.
Me and Julio. Me and Patrick. Me and Jennifer. Everyone and I. All eyes on me.
There is always an old man playing saxophone and you can never tell where the sound is coming from because it gets all twisted up in the fog and dreams and noise and the city screams. It’s like the saxophone is all around you and inside your head. And maybe that’s why we stepped outside.
My memory is tangled now. I’m old and it’s not as easy to separate the steps. The fog was always there, and I was always there. The players sometimes changed, but the game remained the same. Try to make enough money to live. Try to maintain some kind of optimism. Stay inside and put your nose to the grindstone.
Or step outside. Hop a train. Hope you find the man playing sax.
And pray it doesn’t rain.