Appetite for Distraction – Another Day.


He wakes up and he is in San Francisco Airport. He had so many plans in his life when he was 19. He wanted to be Orson Welles. He will never be Orson Welles because he is now 35, he is sitting in San Francisco airport, his attempt at rekindling the love of a woman he treated poorly as failed and failed utterly. He had hope it to have gone better but he had expected it to turn out as it did. How could anything other than what happened happen? It had all started at the end of last year. He had finally left his wife, not thinking it suitable that he live in the same house as her, her boyfriend and their new child. So he had been alone and started bible study and wrote many letters to the woman he loves but he keeps getting no replies. He even, eventually, sent flower to her on valentine’s day but he hears nothing back. He should have taken these hints as hints but he does not take them as hints. He learns that there are cheap tickets to San Francisco. So he writes her poetry in a book and draws some pictures pouring everything he can of his love into one little book and he leaves work early and he is still writing on the plane which arrives late in San Francisco on the same night. He gets the train to Berkeley and a man points him in the right direction to his hotel. He gets there too late to walk to her house. He is excited and nervous and he goes to sleep hoping for the best for the next day. He wakes early and bathes and has breakfast and he calls her number and leaves a message. He hopes that she will call back but she does not call back. he was very nervous on the phone on the message and he could hear his voice shaking. Something deep inside him knows that this was a ridiculous idea but he is committed now. He puts the book in a large envelope with a letter and checks out of the hotel. He walks the five minutes down the road to her apartment and he thinks of all the happy memories he has associated with the place. He happens to check his gmail on his smart phone and is shocked to see a message from her. Apparently she deleted the voicemail so didn’t get his number. He calls again but she doesn’t answer. He explains he has a gift and that he is standing outside her apartment. Nothing happens forever. Then ever so slowly the door to the balcony opens and he sees her looking round for him. He smiles as she is so incredibly beautiful and she glows in the San Francisco air. Then their eyes meet and he collapses. It is clear that she hates him. Nothing but contempt and disgust emanate from her. She signs for him to open the gate but he doesn’t know how. She rolls her eyes and makes her way down the steps and opens the door for him she then turns without even a greeting, why should she give a greeting, and walks back into the flat leaving the door open as a polite greeting. He walks into the apartment the envelope clutched in his hand. He looks round for evidence of a partner. He sees medical text books and he sees shoes. She disappears into the bathroom as he keeps standing stock still and awkward at the door. She returns and sits in a chair, as far from him as is possible whilst still being in the same room. She hates him. She asks him what he wants. She can barely look at him. He tells her that he wanted to give her this, pointing ineffectually at the envelope he has placed on top of the medical books. This is a mistake. She says thank you. He should be on his knees begging forgiveness and for another chance but he is frozen. He asks if she wants him to leave and she says Yes. He says he’ll go then and as he does she says be safe and he says I’m sorry. There is nothing more than that but there is so much more. He walks away. Is that all he thinks? He takes breaks on each bench on the way to the station. Maybe she will read the poems and call him back and it will all be okay and love will be fruitful and bountiful. It is at the third bench outside a bookshop that he gets the one and only final text message that he will ever receive again from the only woman that he has ever really loved. It reads along the lines of Sorry, too little too late I’m with someone who respects me. It is a pummel to his heart his soul is crushed. He has no way to respond. As a final goodbye she asks that he stop sending the letters. At least she was getting them, he thinks, but he is bereft of hope and over the course of the next few hours sends three text messages, each of which he intends to be the last ever text message that he will send to her. What was he thinking? he realises that he has been having a one sided relationship with his imagination sucking this poor woman who used to love him into it and no doubt his arrival this morning terrified her. He has lost her. He feels terrible. Life will never now have the option of being with her to old age and this thought crushes him. He sits. Then he goes to Mission and 24th and walks around noting the memories of the time they were there together at night arguing and she poked him in the chest and he told her not to do that but he had meant to be light hearted but she had not taken it that way and had shrunk inside herself and they had eaten at a Colombian Restaurant or more like a cafe and then went to make fun of pretentious art then walked into Radio Habana Social Club ann drank coffee and been in love again. He remembers all this as he walks in the hot sun as hot tears roll down his face at his loss at the loss he made, curated, grew by his abandonment of her when she needed him most. He keeps walking until his legs ache, his stomach aches and his soul is dead. One final time he stands over from Radio Habana Social Club, looking so different yet the same in the daylight and snaps a picture of the scene and a bicyclist is caught in the amber moment and the people with their lives who are insignificant to him share, unknowing, in his self-pitying tragedy. He walks back to the train he has heard no response from his messages. She really does not want to see him. So he goes to the airport and he waits for nine hours for the plane and sleeps and eats sour patch kids and drinks soda and writes and draws and tries to empty himself of the terrors that assail him and the blankness that smothers him. He sends one more text but there is no response. His plane is delayed but not by much. he gets on the plane. He flies home – to his empty house where he curls up to sleep.

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