Writing: Reckless Proposals

The F Train


Dolores Romaine Brown, aka Mom, pours over the skinny edition of the news, comfy in her full-length forest green robe.  Mom reads critically and remembers.

Much wordless history.  Yet the present is simple as scraping butter over toast, having another half-cup coffee.  The arc of houses on Twin Peaks is cleanly sculpted in pastel.  This season is sunlit relief that her kidney transplant worked and that she can take the stairs.

I could write Big D accolades.  Her perseverance, liberal dealings, midlife success and exemplary retirement.  Bon vivant.  But I’ll say her wrinkled face, raised eyebrows and ready laughter are dear to me.

After the leisurely breakfast, we take the F Train down to the Embarcadero with bags of tourists.  When we walk into the Slanted Door, the maître d’ eyebrows raise as we demure about lack of reservations.  However, we are seated soon, relishing a cava and jicama/grapefruit salad.

The satiated ride back into setting sun is comfy bumping and musing silence.  Until a fella with a big bag gets on midtown and asks the Big D how old she is.  She turns into Maggie Smith primly remonstrating his impolite question.  I’m trying not to laugh. From the seat across the aisle, I name my birth year, telling him to do the math.  He counters by asking me to marry him.  Lonnngg silence staring ahead.  He gets off at the next stop.

The F Train takes us to the Castro where we catch the 37 back up Twin Peaks.  Why does that awkward moment stick?

Life goes on, as Eliot says, on its “metalled ways” but there is something desperate in us to make contact, to commune, even to feel the loneliness of others.  It’s the F Train, with the ribald driver making all the tourists laugh.  It’s the mad rush of holiday people going downtown.  It’s lunch with my 84 year old mom. And later, it’s just the image of late sun in the windshield, glancing off the passersby.

That is perhaps one of the reasons I write.  To make reckless proposals I don’t have to keep.

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