A Chess Game of Cards

  I am meeting Suzi at the Palace of Fine Arts, beneath the giant dome on the edge of the pond. The crowd is much larger than I’d been expecting, a thick herd of people milling about, blocking my way, nearly tripping over one another as they walk the grounds. …

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Perpetual Smug

“In my dream,” Rivi says, “I’m standing outside a blue house at the top of a big hill. There’s a black cat in the yard, and I try to walk around it to look at its face, but no matter where I’m standing, it’s always looking away from me.” We …

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Cultural Archaeology

Rivi and I are waiting for the BART to arrive. The low hum of distant trains hovers in the air of the underground station like the thrum of surf against the shore. Rivi pokes at the back of my neck with her fingernail. “You got sunburned,” she says. “Is it …

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Typhoid Magpie

From her bedroom, Rivi brings me a copy of a used book she’s picked up earlier in the day: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. “I found it at Green Apple,” she says. “It was mis-shelved in the poetry section.” I turn the book over and look …

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The Secret Architectures of Spiders

Hannah is sucking on a Blow Pop as we drive. She is scrolling through my iPhone, looking at my music. “Don’t you have anything from this century in here?” she asks. “Don’t give me any grief,” I say. “You’re the same age I am.” “Maybe, but my musical education didn’t …

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At the Edge of the Continent

“I should take a trip,” Hannah is saying. “Someplace far away. Darjeeling, maybe. Someplace where the air is spicy.” We are walking outside the zoo, and the air is not spicy here. It smells of eucalyptus and salt air. “I want to be in one of those hotels that you …

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Fist-Fighting Shatner on the Acropolis

Rivi and I are walking along Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. As we go, she is counting the number of turtle heads she has seen breaking the surface of the water. “Three,” she says. “We should take a paddleboat,” I say. “Haven’t done that in a long time.” “Nah. …

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Springtime Honey

Hannah and I don’t go skiing, because going skiing was never the point. Instead, we are at her house in Daly City, in her bedroom. We are laying in her bed, but it’s friendly, and not a romantic thing. There is a cemetery across the street from her house. I …

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Constellations of Desire

Hannah plays Iggy Pop through the speakers of her iPhone as we walk down the wooded path, which leads to an overlook by the Golden Gate Bridge. The wheels of traffic buzz like honeybees on the pavement from just out of sight. I glance over at her as we walk, …

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Measures of Triscuits and Waffles

“I hate that it doesn’t snow here,” Rivi says from the kitchen. “It’s a drought,” I say, laying on the chaise in the living room. “It doesn’t snow anywhere anymore.” It is ungodly early, somewhere around seven in the morning, and I haven’t slept all night. Rivi had appeared on …

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