I have this memory of visiting Oakland this time last year. I had driven down from Portland in the middle of the night because I missed my friends and hated Portland a whole lot. Back then I was working on a way to get back down here and knew with ice-cold certainty that I never should have left in the first place. That scumbag city up there, man. What a waste. I was trying to get back what I had lost before I lost all of it for good. (SPOILERS: I ended up losing it all lol)

It was Saturday and it was early so I drove to Donut Farm, where I had worked for two and a half years. Only a few of my friends still worked there. I didn’t recognize anyone else.

My friend Caitlin was at the counter and she came around and hugged me. I remember ‘Tim’ was playing on the stereo. I had always put on that album on Saturday mornings. I wondered if Caitlin had remembered that, or if it had just gotten shuffled into the weekend playlist. I didn’t want to apply any undue sentimentalities to it, so I assumed the latter. Caitlin asked me if I was back, and where I’d been, and so on. God, dude. I only had bad news for her.

I asked her where my friend Molly was and she said she’d gotten a job at Mariposa Bakery in Temescal. I left and drove over there to see her. I had liked Molly very much and never got to say good-bye to her. She was behind the counter and I went over and talked to her. I asked if she wanted to hang out that night and she told me to come over at midnight.

I did! We got real drunk on Lagranja wine, the one with the pig on it that I always get because it’s $3.99 at Trader Joe’s. Man, it was cool. We fell asleep on her weird psychiatrist couch-thing and when I woke up some time later in the middle of the night she was curled up next to me with her head on my chest. I thought, hell, all right man. I drove her to work in the morning and for some reason I never saw Molly again after that.

(I miss that dang girl. I think about her all the time. I wonder what happened to her. I think I was the only person at Donut Farm who liked her. I think maybe also that she was aware of that.)

After that I drove around Oakland while the sun was coming up. I felt incredibly sad that I wasn’t there anymore and wondered if the whole Molly thing had even happened. It really did feel like I made it up in my head. We didn’t really know each other anymore and a whole year had passed since we’d even been part of each other’s lives, or whatever. She used to come over every day after work and we’d drink champagne and watch movies. That had just ended at some point. I guess it has really ended now.

I have written a longer thing about the emptiness of this place now that my friends have gone away or have gotten older, and so on. Maybe I’ll actually do something with it~