- How easy it is to get awkward once you see somebody in their most intimate and vulnerable setting. You wonder if you will ever see them the same. If you will run away or call an Uber to come and get you and take you back home. The public face can easily be a mask. A front with little depth or hidden emotions. You wonder how your mask comes off to him. You don’t want to tell him that you are afraid he will walk away from you. That he will leave you stranded here in Downtown LA. Here in the midst of art, alcohol, and homelessness.
You smile the instant you see him. Welcome him with open arms as he kisses your cheek. You both hold on to each other for a second longer than usual. It’s been four days since you last saw each other and you have both been waiting to see how this encounter goes. Same wrinkle creases that form at the corner of his eye as he smiles. Same attentive three second look you both give each other as if you’re sharing a secret that the rest of the world does not know. Same butterflies every time you both get very close.
2.You both stop and talk to another man with petitions in his hands. They’re collecting signatures for a $15 minimum wage increase initiative. He stops and doesn’t hesitate in signing. You think of all his co-workers in the kitchen of some bougie restaurant in Brentwood. You’ve never asked how much money he makes.
The next person you both see at the corner of Spring and Fourth Street, holds a sign that says, “FREE HUGS.” He tells you to go hug the person. You refuse for whatever reason. It’s because of nerves. He hugs the person. He comes up to you after and hugs you tightly. You know he was the only person you wanted to hug at that very moment. You of course don’t want to admit it.
You both wander away from the art in look for alcohol. He finds a neon sign that says OAK. Tells you to stand under it and takes a photo of you. You, the Oakland girl. The only Oakland girl he’s ever met.
3.After two mixed drinks and two beers, you both walk around a barren Downtown LA at 1 am, except those few stranders, those that call the streets their home. The cold air hits your face in the most refreshing way possible as he walks by you. He stares at you once again with that secret in his eyes. He grabs your hand tightly in between Spring and Fourth Street. In between parking lots and art galleries. In between vulnerable and afraid. In between running away and going home.