I drive around Oakland at night, or walk through Berkeley and into the hills, and so on, and I am more or less living a convincing reality, at least most of the time. . . . But I am cursed with a good and vivid memory, and so I remember everything that has happened to me here, and all the many people I have known in this place, and much of that is gone now and I can only see it again when I remember it. I have these sort of momentary delusions where I’ll be in a part of town where things used to happen a long time ago, and I’ll think that if I were to just go into any of the bars and houses I used to go, all the people will still be there living the exact same lives they were living when I last saw them. Like Jack and Sennett and Alayna and them are still in the house on Mead, and Emily is still playing little shows at Moco on Franklin downtown, and Laura and Tracey are at home making dinner on Marshall, and Tim and Kerwin and McCune and them are all hanging out on 43rd. But of course no one is sitting in the back of Ruby Room waiting for me to get there anymore, and there is no weekend shift at Donut Farm, and no night bike rides with a dozen of my friends through West Oakland in the middle of the summer. Some of those people became other things, and I still see them, but some of those people went far away and I don’t know what happened to them. Probably I’ll never see them again. And so everything that ever happened between us has already happened, and that’s all it will ever be.
Those versions of my friends and even myself in that time are still there and layered beneath this reality I am living now. They are on an eternal loop and I can see the shadowy outline of it all playing in front of me wherever I go. Sometimes when I am alone in the dark at night I really do see everything superimposed on the present, or whatever this is, and I want so badly to cross the divide and be in that place with them again. I guess I just miss a lot of people is all. What happened to what used to happen? and so on.
I don’t mean to sound sentimental. I am not lonely. Really this is the least lonely I have ever felt in my entire life. I just wish we could all be together again. It is a sadness to me because I know that that was a place in time and space that won’t ever happen again, and so all I can do is see the ghostly vapor trail of the past when I am alone in those old parts of Oakland where I used go with my friends.