Today I traveled to San Francisco.

My company policy is to take the cheapest flight, so I had to rise at 3:00 a.m. and catch a 7:00 a.m. plane. I wasn’t real happy about that.

I prayed silently to the Universe to put me next to one or more cute single men, but in typical spiritual irony, I was squished into a middle seat between an 80-year-old man with no personal-space boundaries and a woman who seemed to be about 7-feet tall and downed Corona’s the entire time behind her dark sunglasses. She had her bags stuffed between her legs in a paranoid thigh-clutch, declining suggestions from the old man to stow them overhead.

I felt better once I arrived. The sun was brilliant, and the view was poetic. I took a deep breath and decided to start my day all over again.

I took the BART train system to my hotel, and two young, good-looking gay men took seats next to me. They were dressed fashionably in skinny jeans and nice shirts, and one of them had a big hole in his ear that apparently was stretched out from gages. The minute they sat down, I was overcome with a strong, sickenly familiar smell. It brought a knot of bad feelings up into my throat, and my stomach hurt a little.

As the boys tried to piece together last night’s events, my own memories choked me. Bad sex and tears came to mind, as I recalled so many foul-smelling nights when alcohol oozed from Mr. N/A’s pores.

That was it.

I continue to discover signs I clearly missed that Mr. N/A had a drinking problem. I didn’t know what that smell was… I just didn’t like it. I presumed it was the stale odor of his cigars, and in the end, I could barely stand to kiss him, because his breath nearly knocked me out. But I didn’t refuse his clumsy amorous advances, because I never knew when he would be in the mood again.

I don’t know what else to say about that, but thank god I finished living that chapter of my story.

One Comment on “Sobering Up in San Francisco

  1. What awful memories! Strange what can trigger a memory. Things we think are dead and buried live on to cause us grief and color our present.
    If only Mr. N/A could have seen himself as he is, seen what he was losing, see what he is losing even still.


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