Perusing a dusty Post Card Row fixer upper I could never afford, she arrived first and sat in a chair across from me, looking around expectantly. As my iPad told me the story of 714 Steiner in fifty-seven pictures on realtor.com, she kept checking her phone, sitting on the front of her chair, head craned.
Within half-hour he was there and they’d hit it off. Period ceiling medallions got almost a million over asking,…I’m scrolling through pics at Alchemy Coffee in Salt Lake City, the three of us separate/together, the six low-seated upholstered chairs surrounding a communal coffee table, and they laugh at first in tentative agreement—retaining their personal space—then succumb, leaning in, voices getting lower, private, secluded.
And I sold all my tools but 3.5 million dollars of dusty floors built in 1900 calls seductively, and my iPad flips dreams while their fingers touch, slowly outlining the hand of the other. Pointer poised, up his finger, and back down, and he moves over to whisper something into her ear, and there’s a soft laugh. Some of the molding is original, but thrashed, painted purple and red, and in spots, mold has taken over walls and bathrooms, mirrored tiles from the 1970’s reflecting only haze, and they speak sex into the air between us with quivering coffee shop etiquette.
And a song I haltingly-recognize makes words alive again, and I pause.
Take a dream on a Sunday
Take a life, take a holiday
Take a lie, take a dreamer
Dream, dream, dream, dream, dream along
Dreamer, by Supertramp.
And the antique stove sits on buckled linoleum floors, and in another section, hardwoods stretch East to west, edged by bay windows and Alamo Square Park, calling into the afternoon sun about long days and smudged architectural sketches, and Fingers. Fingers to the knee, up the thigh, fingers tiptoeing, flipping, scrolling, 2D digital pics coming to make a life inside me, on this Mid-February (2020) day, across from this coffee date not remembering why I myself ever gave them up (my fingers onto buttons, brushing lips to necks, faces flushed, trousers on the floor of bedrooms…)
And when the couple get up to go, my eyes follow, and I rally for us dreamers, calling out to the belligerence of desiring something out of this world.
Then as the door closes behind them, I go about my own business, and sitting cross-legged in the western sun of a fixer, trace myself slowly, up and down, into the magical history of dusty floors.
[This is actually the couple, and if they ever happen to see this, my sincere apologies but it was kind of a magical moment for me, as I hope this post reflects.. Life: dreamy, perilous, and often-vicarious. Thank you for letting me share your space. Also, this happened in mid-February of this year; three weeks later, Alchemy Coffee had to close down it’s upholstered chairs and coffee dates but I look forward to seeing them again someday and in the meantime, gratitude to the new owner of 714 Steiner that she’s letting us join her journey of restoration, known on social media as “Pink Painted Lady”]. EDIT: I revised this post (that was originally done in February) as I sat in the driveway of someone else’s house this morning so got the name of the park wrong on it—typed “Dolores” not “Alamo Square”—So I changed it which is kind of a tragedy because syllabically “Dolores” obviously works better in this