It is a special thing to be with someone at night. It just seems so nice to me. I’m out here, right by Indian Rock, about to scale the thing, and I was thinking about all the nighttime people I’ve known.
Earlier, when I was wandering around the hills behind the campus tonight, I saw Aurora’s old place up near the top, where the road winds around the hills towards Grizzly Peak. I remember whenever I’d go see her, I’d park down the road a bit and walk that last stretch through the trees and up into the hills where her apartment complex was. It always smelled so good on the walk up. From her bedroom window you could see all of the Bay Area. Sometimes I’d be on a night walk, and I’d look up and see that her bedroom light was on, all flooded in pink and purple, and I’d think, “Aw man, good ol Aurora. I wonder what she’s doing right now.” But tonight her bedroom window was dark. I think it’s the only time I’ve ever seen it like that.
Down the hill a bit is the co-op where my friend Melody lived, and where I had been to years before for a party these kids who broke down on Mead Avenue invited me to because I made them coffee at two in the morning while they waited for the tow truck to get there. Back in October, I ended up at that co-op again right around midnight, ripped out of my head on acid. I had been out thinking about some things. Melody met me on the street, and took me inside and gave me water and read scripts to me in her bedroom, and then we hung out in one of the common rooms till the sun was about an hour away from rising. I walked home even though she didn’t want me to. She said it was dangerous, or something, and that I should sleep. She said it was the Jewish motherly instincts in her. But I protested and went home . . . I said I had to see Dante, and sleep in my own bed, and wake up Sunday afternoon and make black coffee, so I left and she let me. I got back just as the sun was coming up and immediately passed out.
A few blocks away from Melody’s place is another co-op I used to hang out at. I knew this girl named Vasiliki. She told me she was named after her grandmother, and that her name was Greek and meant “royalty”. . . . I had met her a few weeks after I moved back to Oakland from Portland. Man, her place was nuts. It was covered in graffiti inside and all the rooms were insane and thrown together and the whole place was filled with freaks. I loved the hell out of it. She used to invite me to all the parties there. I remember she always had a “job” when they threw parties. Like the last party I went to, which was February 2019 I think, she was the water fairy, and it was her job to keep everyone hydrated, what with all the drugs going around. She was all blue and sparkly, and her bedroom was filled with different drinks and I helped her distribute them. One of the drinks she had was “”molly water””?? And I drank some?? It had no effect on me, at any rate. I ended up on the roof and smoked a joint with these kids. They were cool. We were so high up we were level with the tops of the palm trees. There are so many good rows of palm trees around that area. I drove the Datsun home after that, and then she went off to Amsterdam for a while.
My friend Quinn once told me I was a nighttime person to her, that she only ever saw me at night, and that she liked it that way. She said she always imagined me in my house at night watching movies in the dark and drinking cheap wine, because that’s what we did whenever she came over. Quinn and Aurora and Melody and Vasiliki, in addition to having cool names, were my nighttime people. I never saw them during the day. I think that’s neat. In my mind it feels more mysterious and exciting. Nighttime is a strange time and it is my favorite time to be out there for reasons I have accidentally cataloged right here on this very website over the span of many years. I talk about nighttime all the time because most of my life happens then. But it is still an unplaceable thing to me, which is to say I would have a difficult time explaining in any sort of straightforward way. Reckon you just got to be there to know the shape of the thing.
And if you’ll forgive me, I’m going to quote A FAREWELL TO ARMS:
I know that the night is not the same as the day: that all things are different, that the things of the night cannot be explained in the day, because they do not then exist, and the night can be a dreadful time for lonely people once their loneliness has started. But with Catherine there was almost no difference in the night except that it was an even better time.
Last time I saw Aurora, we did poppers with her friend while I played with her kitten. I suppose she would be gone now . . . I think she mentioned going back to Santa Cruz. Melody finished college and went back down to LA. I’ll see her again soon. Vasiliki, I’m not sure . . . I reckon she could be just about anywhere right now.
It was a sadness to me to see their darkened windows. These were the bedrooms of my friends, and I’ll never get to be inside those rooms with them again. I really do try to avoid sounding sentimental and nostalgic on here, because I’m absolutely tired of coming off the way, but I don’t know. What am I supposed to do? I won’t pretend like I don’t feel those things. If night can be a dreadful time for lonely people once their loneliness has started, then the only antidote is to have nighttime friends. It could have been a lonely time, and often it most certainly did feel that way, but not when I was with them. I miss them all.
Anyway that’s all I wanted to say about that. Here are some pictures I took. Also, just to be clear, poppers suck.