Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It's all a blur

Like so many San Francisco nights, Fisherman’s Wharf disappeared into the fog that appears even denser now as I recall how boozed up Jim and I were when we left the restaurant and the rough force he used on me and the horrific thing that might have happened were it not for an encounter I took then and, even now, to be preternatural. I had been drinking vodka martini’s while listening to Jim's long list of sorrows and regrets. He had spread them out for me as he poured down whiskey sours and chain smoked. It was very late when we walked to my car. He wanted me to spend the night. I wanted to drive home. Come on, come home with me, he slurred insistently, too drunk for sex and so was I. For weeks my desire for him had been waning anyway. I could go a whole day or two without remembering how nonchalantly he made love, with that same careless air of pouring himself a drink. It used to excite me, loosened me up. But in those waning days, only the steam from his mouth came to mind, the way it drugged my air with liquor and smoke.  Key in hand, I leaned forward to kiss his cheek. But he grabbed the neckline of my dress, yanked on it violently, split the front seam in two, exposing my bare breasts. Oh my God! I cried. Oh my God! and I stepped back, walked quickly to the car, jumped in and sped away, hurtling myself down the Embarcadero onto the 101 south freeway. It's all a blur, those cars speeding past me in the murkiness, the smear of lights encircling me like a carrousel, my eyes frozen in a stare, my lids so heavy I was afraid to blink, worried once closed they might not open again, afraid to move any part of me, not even the pressure of my foot on the gas, every second feeling like an hour. Up ahead, I saw the exit sign, Army Street. That was not my exit, mine was miles ahead, but something took hold of me, turned my wheel to the right onto that exit and down the ramp. My hands held lightly on the wheel, obeyed its will, the car now in command of itself. I did not hand myself over to it, no choice was offered me. This is where the car would go, I could do nothing, the way a mountain stream flows where gravity pulls it. Once on Army street, my car slowed, rolled to the side, aligned with the sidewalk, and came to a stop. I heard the key turn off the ignition, the motor fall silent, and then the space before my eyes vanished, the world went instantly black, silent, and bottomless.