Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My Love Affair

I’m not sure the exact moment I first fell in love. It’s definite I was far too young to have such mature feelings. As an older, wiser woman, I look back on my love affair and smile. It’s a “scotch-colored” memory for me. I review each memory gem, the distilled reminiscent-light is umber hued and slightly wavy. The same way my living room looks if I squint at it though a glass of scotch.

I’d heard about my soon-to-be lover before the meeting, but thought little of it. Nothing prepared me for the rush of love at first sight love. They didn’t tell me about the gravity loosing feeling of falling headlong into contentment. Minutes after meeting, I felt “at home” and as if “this” was where I should spend the rest of my life. I was sitting in the back seat of the ’62 Chevy II station wagon, when I caught the first glimpse of my love.

There he was – across the majestic doubledecker bay-spanning bridge. He was singing his siren song, heard only to the little girl in the backseat. Immediately I was dumped into his lap. This startling new sensation filled me. What was reality and what was fantasy? Who had made such structures, never before seen in my small town? Crazy square-tubes with water gushing out their ends, some tangled together, others perpendicular to each other.

And the people! Look at the people!

They were dressed like gypsies – their long hair and loose fitting clothing camouflaging their gender. My eyes opened wide with wonder.

But soon the car was rushing past – plunging down a hill – and out there – that huge lake with rolling waves? That I was told was the Pacific Ocean. She was a shy creature, peaking in and out of the fog at me. Her cloak of fog hid her enormity and I was brave enough to approach her on my own. She would always hold my love captive and I would always have to cross her to get to him, but she’s never been cruel to me the way some wives can.

Our first night together I experienced fire works. It was strange and thrilling, yet scary all at the same time. I didn’t understand why there was a dragon parading down the street, nor why the crowd of bystanders threw firecrackers at the passing dragon. But safe on my high perch of stacked newspapers I gazed down on the scene unfolding below me. Men dressed in pajamas swarmed past me banging on gongs and drums. Some of them even carried pitchforks to poke the dragon. I thought they were so very, very, brave.

When the parade ended we entered a small restaurant. There were tantalizing smells in the air and everyone looked different than my family. They were all shorter and had the glossiest thick black hair I’d ever seen. The paper lanterns hanging down from the ceiling and glass encased pictures of humpy bridges distracted me from choosing what I wanted to eat from the menu with all the funny looking pictures. But it didn’t really matter – the long day in my lover’s arms was catching up to me and unable to resist another moment I laid my head down in the banquet and my heavy eyes closed.

The next days as I became more intimate with my love I grew to adore all his idiosyncrasies. One moment his disposition was sunny, then next cold and cloudy. His mercurial temperament made it hard to make too many plans - because you never knew if he'd be hot or cold, placid, or temperamental. I discovered his garden - stretching from the sea to the city's heart. Like much of him, it had areas that were crowded and chaotic - like the sailing pond surrounded by small children launching toy ships - inter dispersed with oasis’s of tranquility. The spun sugar gingerbread draped hothouse - the rose garden mashed up against the museum of dinosaurs and art. What a crazy quilt of amusements.

Exploring him was a roller coaster ride, literally. Shooting up each hill - to stop and teeter on its crest - before dashing up the next .. until suddenly - the nose of the car hung over thin air, paused in its forward motion. After a moments pause to allow a clanging trolley to pass, we hurtled down, down, toward the next plateau. He wasn't all he seemed, sometimes he became secretive, twisting and turning, only to suddenly reveal a vista of metropolis. Elegant, thin buildings reaching skyward, as if to break free of his gravity lay below me. Some refracted light like broken shards of glass while others moved in and out of the foggy cloak.

Ohh, ohh to stay here with my love and never leave. That was my deepest wish. But all too soon that '62 Chevy crossed back over that bridge, carrying me further and further away from the dewy embrace of my guy. Looking out the back window I whispered to him, “Don’t worry San Francisco, I’ll be back, time and time again.”


Joe said...

Oh you loose woman you. :) I cannot be seduced by San Francisco, for I was born there; my love must always be Agape/Philia instead of Eros. But those have their advantages, as blood is thicker than water.

I remember those tubes too. I think they were built while I was living nearby.

Did you know part of the SF-Oakland Bay Bridge is to be rebuilt as side-by-side sections instead of a double decker?

Woodstock said...

An interesting difference...I too feel in love with San Francisco at an early age, long before I consciously knew that my eye, heart, and libido would be turned by the female half of the species yet I've always thought of the city as a woman.

Beautiful lyricism here. Thank you for sharing.

Woodstock said...

[sigh] and I can't spell...that should be fell in love... Garcon! More chocolate for the lady at the keyboard! ;)

Mit_Moi said...

Joe, I'm having to think back. Agape love is Christ-like, right? And Eros is "erotic" - or physical/sexual, but what is Philia? (I am too tired to google.)

You know, I always thought those tubes were in People's Park and it was in downtown SF. But as googled for images of People's Park, I realized that was Berkeley ... so then I'm left to think they were off the Embarcadero somewhere. I couldn't find any pics of them. So I am extra glad you recognized them from my description, because I was afraid I'd dreamed them up. *sigh*

Yes, saw the side-by-side design proposed for the new bridge. I kind of like it. It's a beautiful bridge design. And since the earthquake I'm not too thrilled to be driving across the lower deck anyway.

Okay - I've got to get to bed, but thanks for stopping by. It's always good to hear from you.

rabi said...

hi - thanks for sharing your love letter! I've never been to san francisco but I definitely plan to visit someday.