by Michael Davidson
The next day I am sitting on Sunset Cliffs with my notebook on my lap, pen between forefinger and thumb. I recall the scenes from last night: sprinting across La Jolla beach, watching footprints bleed phosphorescence, and singing the words to an unsung song. Bioluminescence, how could I have lived so many years and stayed interested in life without you?
I guess scuba divers ask themselves the same question when they discover a new species. No biggie.
Confession: When I was far enough away from the crowd, I, too, took after Diego and unzipped my pants. Urine rippled and glowed on the sand. Was this wrong of me, Dear Lord?
Back to the matter at hand: Sunset Cliffs is a place away from home. I come here to listen to sounds that I can’t hear from my roost. Today there is a family picnicking in the cove. They brought their cat, whom they named Honeyed Cat. I watch her scale the precipitous cliffs and try to sneak attack a seagull. She is unsuccessful, and this makes me pity her for some reason, as if catching the gull would’ve been equally dignifying for both bird and feline.
I click my tongue to get her attention. She freezes in her tracks, her left paw lifted, flaccid at the wrist, and acts as if she doesn’t see me. One of the three children dives into the ocean with their clothes on. His mother runs to the exact spot where the waves stop their soughing and shouts
Enrique! What do you think you’re doing? We’re here to eat, not swim.
But I’m not hungry anymore.
Enrique unties his shoes and hurls them dangerously close to his mother. In some cultures this act is a great insult, but here in San Diego it is reason to cut your losses and get back to the picnic. When the mother looks at me perched on the cliff directly above her son, I shrug my shoulders, raise my eyebrows, and pull back my lips. This is my fool’s face. It is suppose to answer all questions, comfort all woes
What are you looking at?
But it doesn’t calm the missus. I casually turn my gaze towards the horizon; pretend that I didn’t hear these fighting words. By nature I’m a pacifist, Dear Lord, that or a bloody coward, and when friends tell me that I need to grow a spine, all I can do is give them my fool’s face. It usually serves me well, and there have been times when it has defused ticking time bombs.
A surprise: Honeyed Cat sniffs the odor of my facial hair. I do not move, prepared to understand that this is the most I can ask for from this cat, and that is indeed what I have to live with when she leaps over my legs and carves the most efficient path in the shale to reach her mother. I regret not touching her tail, which, in some cultures, brings luck to those without love.
It is true. You’re reading the words of a desperate man, Dear Lord, so desperate that I have stopped counting the days since I last slept with a woman.