4.I spend Saturday morning indoors, and listen to a John Coltrane mix I burned once. I put it on and then stare out my window into the rain, and when ‘Equinox’ comes on I press the repeat button and turn of all the lights in my room. I pull up the shade as far as it goes and lie on my back on the floor and bask in the natural light coming through my window as ‘Equinox’ plays five, seven times.
Eventually my legs fall asleep and so I force myself to get up and move around. I decide to go get some coffee on Bellows. There’s a pizza place buried in the west end that serves blue bottle. I look for my parents before I leave but I don’t know where they are. So I grab the keys to our roomier green station wagon and leave.
I’ve been driving for maybe five minutes when I see Alisa walking along the side of the road I’m on. She’s walking alone, in the rain, so I pull up behind her and flash my lights. She turns around, slowly, and she doesn’t know who it is because I don’t often drive this car and I guess you can’t really see through the windshield clearly in the rain. But she walks over anyway and I roll down my window. I ask why she’s out in the rain and she says she’s just walking to “clear her head”. I nod and she asks what I’m doing and I tell her. She’s never heard of Blue Bottle, and so I tell her its just really good coffee. She laughs and says she’s always down for coffee.
“What is it? Blue coffee?”
“No, that’s just what its called. It’s just really good. Kind of expensive.”
“Oh… well, I mean, I’m always down to try new things.”
“Do you want to come?”
After a second she decides to go and so she gets in. She’s wearing blue jeans and a lightweight black rain jacket over a dark blue ‘Matero Basketball’ sweatshirt. Her hair is long and brown blonde, and she kind of slumps in her seat and pushes it all the way back so that she can put her feet on the dashboard. I pull back onto the main road.
As I’m driving she pulls her hair into a bun and watches the trees as we pass them. At one point she says “Is this your car?” and I say “No”. “Yeah,” she says, “I’ve never seen you drive it.” but then we don’t really talk for the rest of the ride.
I park behind Terzzetto’s. We get out and I lock the car, then lead us to the pizza place, which has some hard to pronounce fake Italian name like “Panacaci’s” or something. I suppose it sounds authentic, like Terzzetto’s.
I order a plain drip coffee and she does the same. We wait at the counter and observe the patrons around us, who are mostly middle-class couples having a nice lunch out. At almost every table is an empty bottle of wine, and the men sit there, moving their hands and talking, while the women sit and laugh. The waiters come and the couples don’t even glance up, they just place their empty plate on the tray or wave their hand to signify that their meal is fine.
Then our coffee’s ready and we step outside to drink it. The rain has let up for a moment but it’s foggy and misty. We stand under an overhang, sipping our coffee, and Alisa says, “Do you know Tommy Jensen?”
“No.” I shake my head. She leans in because she couldn’t hear me and I say again, louder, “No, I don’t. Who is he?”
“He’s just this guy at our school, pretty normal, but like a week ago or something he got jumped by a couple kids and they tied up his hands and legs so he could barely move. Then they dragged him next to a curb right where tons of rainwater was flooding and put him face down in it, so that he could barely breathe. Apparently he almost drowned and like nobody knows who did it! And like in Matero…”
“Yeah,” I say, “That’s fucking crazy. Did he call the cops?”
“I don’t know. Probably but I mean what are they gonna do?”
“Yeah. This coffee is really good!”
I smile and laugh. The coffee is sweet and has a nice, bitter edge. It moves smoothly over my tongue and I can feel its aefects. As we walk back to my car I feel jumpy, tense. Alisa kind of giggles at the way I’m moving and I can’t help but smile back. But I feel tense and I’m not enjoying it.
In the car I play some really slow, grimy dubstep that a friend gave me. The rain falls in sheets against the windshield and we drive all the way past the end of west bellows and onto a steeply ascending hill. We rise quickly, and as we go faster and higher the hue of the sky changes, going from grey to indigo to a dark, thick purple that swirls around the emerging stars. The rain falls faster and the purple tones of the sky grow more intense, suffocating the light around us and as I look down at the freeway next to us all I see is a hazy blur of lights streaming against blackness.
And then we’re at the top. We’re floating above Laffotta and Olera, and in the distance we can see Matero. Everything below us is a hazy blur. We’re surrounded by the night, which is quickly becoming black, and I can see the clear blue moon and I roll down my windows and we began to descend. The road is windy and surrounded by trees and as we coast down it we stick our heads out of the windows and yell, letting the night overtake us.
Near the bottom of the hill I see three dead deer. The first two are just plain corpses, Caracas’s swept to the side of the road. But the third one is a doe, small and light brown, and its stomach is burst open and one of its legs is bent the wrong way. We coast by it quickly but I imagine I can see the blood flowing down the hill all the way to the bottom, where I pull over and park. I notice that Alisa is asleep. I can’t sleep, so I get out of the car and watch the clouds completely disappear against the sky.
After a while Alisa wakes up and gets out of the car. I look at my phone and it’s eight thirty. I grumble and she says “What?” but I tell her I didn’t say anything. She laughs again and then stares up at the sky. She’s jittery and I wish she would settle down.
I don’t want to drive anymore. I ask Alisa if she wants to walk around downtown Olera, which is a ten-minute walk from where we’re parked, and she says yeah. So we get out. She looks fine after her nap, and undoes her bun. I yawn. As we walk downtown she kind of leans into me, not obviously but slightly, and I wish she wouldn’t but I don’t try to stop her and it begins to feel kind of comforting.
We walk around downtown Olera. It’s cold, but lots of shops and cafes are open. It’s more diverse then Laffotta, at least in the sense that not all the restaurants and clothing boutiques are in one spot. There are bookstores and a hole in the wall Greek eatery, where we buy gyros. The centerpiece to Olera is their theater, and we sit at a table beneath the marquee and watch people walk past. I realize I feel relaxed, that the tense feelings I had earlier have passed. Alisa comments on some of the people walking past but I just sit there and don’t do anything. I get a text from Eli but I don’t even look at it. At one point I think I see a blue-gray cat slinking behind a car near to us, but I’m not sure.
Then it’s time to go. We walk back to my car and again Alisa kind of leans into me, and I can smell her shampoo. I don’t put on any music in the car, and she slides back into the seat again, slumped down with her feet on the dash.
I let her off at her house and she hugs me, awkwardly since I have my seatbelt on, and then gets out. As I drive away from her house I put on The xx, but really softly, so that all I can really register is the bass and the drums.
That night I fall into bed, and I stare out through my blinds, which I turned so that some of the moonlight shines into my room. I lie there, and I anticipate insomnia, but without even thinking about it I fall asleep.