outwait outrun outwit


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12.31.02, tuesday afternoon

New Year's Eve: the world shrinks; it's the size of a bedroom on 1st and International, where the maximum occupancy is two. 2.

Inside there is, at first, blue morning light on skin. Then lamplight will fall on a white porcelain plate, the peeled shells of two free-range eggs and the crumbs of what had been two halves of one peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich.

Inside (this city, this room, certain hearts) a secret history is being tailored by two to fit two, only two: the maximum occupancy. Two who would float in a pea-green boat, with a pot of honey and a little guitar; they don't even need money wrapped in a five-pound note because they can barter teaspoonfuls of honey for pickled leeks and freshly fried fish from the houseboats bobbing so serenely in the distance.

A day or two ago, I saw two young men balancing themselves precariously in a packed train, together. One man nuzzled the other's nape; they were oblivous to onlookers like me, caught in a world founded on their own secret history, tailored in German and English words and worn on San Franciscan streets in search of adventure.

When you and I really really met (after all those missed chances), who knew it was like someone had lit a fuse and ran? Pea-green sheets will do (for now).


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