My friend Adrienne picks me up from my house and we go to the art museum. I am not feeling well, I tell her. My body is tight. My mind is tight. I strap the seat belt on and strangely feel better—to be held by a vehicle, to smell the musty upholstery. We roll the windows down and a wave of coolness hits my face.
Together, we move steadily towards Hollywood, where I used to live.
We turn onto Alvarado.
I tell Adrienne how I miss this part of the city: riding my bike to the gallery where I worked. One time, a car side-swiped me. The driver noticed her mirror was bent. She didn’t ask if I was okay. She demanded something about if I had insurance. I yelled back “fuck you” and pedaled off into the night, weaving wildly around traffic, just ready to die.
Yet still, I miss that bike and that age and that hate and that routine.
I worry about having that level of hate in me still— a hate that erupts in public.
I romanticize my time in Hollywood, not like in films, but like in my crummy life.
We pause at a stoplight.
Two older men collapse onto the pavement while crossing the intersection.
Do they need our help?
Nearby pedestrians swarm around the pair and lug them back to the curb.
They are getting help.
The light clicks green. Our car lurches forward. The men collapse again, but we are closer now and can see more. One is punching the other. It was not a heart attack. They are drunk.
I don’t know what to feel or how to or stop.
We are in the middle of traffic.
We have to keep moving forward.