The street race ends and the air absorbs my sedan, its dematerializing seat lifting me to my feet. I sweep the dust from my pants. The skies begin to clear.
This is San Francisco. It feels like San Francisco.
To my right I see an old brick-faced apartment block. No sooner than I cross the threshold does the building’s secret life appear. For what else could this be beside a mansion for bicostal literati — a commune, a collective, a common resting place. They seem so wise, their faces placid. Their smiles invite me in, monocoastal though I am. And here I see in fact we see ourselves in one another: here we are together.
I mount a platform to a net of wooden tiles shaped like scallops, a mesh which, whether hoisted with the knees or flung from the chest, unfurls into a staircase, fanned out to take me anywhere that I might want to go. The tiles are keys to play in sequence, the ceiling a dark and optically unresolved dome: each new ascent unlocks a portal to a point in space and time.
Yet, drawn back by a light just past my visual field, I step back, tack left, and descend by utility steps into the garden party of a writer known to me by name. There are no words for us to say. She rests her head upon my shoulder and I lay mine on hers, consoling one another for griefs no readership will ever learn.
Outside, the ground is thrusting up its blooms. A river flows beyond a limestone embankment. A parade passes by. I begin to sense this isn’t San Francisco after all.
No, it’s someplace else. I’ve been here before.
It dawns on me it’s safe to wake and leave this place. I know where it is and where to find it next. For now there’s time for other things, I can come back later, I have no need to stay.