Wednesday, May 25, 2157
I got up early that morning, went to the kitchen and had a small bowl of fruit. I ate alone. I remember thinking that it was the first time I ate alone since getting there. The thought did not linger. I switched to thinking about my library and all the books I had. I plotted in my head where to resume my reading. I had the bookcases all organized. I had to find where I left off. It never occurred to me to look in these writings for the answer. It never occurred to me that I may have talked to Walter about it, and that he would remember. I went back into alone mode, the mode I had known most of my adult life.
I returned to the living room and began gathering my stuff. That’s when Walter came out. I noted how disheveled he looked in my head, but didn’t say anything. Instead, I said that I wanted to build a cart or something to help me carry this stuff back to the Arroyo. Do you have anything? He just looked at me for what seemed like an hour. My mind was racing around with a ton of details, and he was just staring at me, looking like crap and staring at me. Finally, he said that he couldn’t think of anything that would work. Fine, fine, I snapped, then leaned over and started clothing buckles and that sort of thing. I could feel him just standing there, looking at me, but I refused to say anything else.
So then he said, you know, you really won’t be able to get over the hills. How will you get over the hills? I told him that I’d go the way I came before, going through the old Caldecott 4th bore. But how will you get there? The way I came, I said.
Until that moment, you’d have thought I had just materialized at the end of the tunnel. I remember that day, when I came through the tunnel and stared at the Bay Area for the first time since childhood. I saw the Albany Hill, now just an island, and a small one at that. I saw how gigantic the whole body of water had become. The old highway ended abruptly, and I had to scale down to go down the side of the hill. I had forgotten about all that. Somehow, I had erased all that from my head. All I had to do was read my own damn writing.
I was so caught up, living “in the moment” that I had forgotten the past. Forgotten the days I had spent with Walter. Forgotten the nasty baby killers down shore. Forgotten nearly dying on the beach, even though I was only a quarter mile from the desal plant. The past vanished. All I saw was that pipe feeding water to the A-fuckers up north. A fantasy. I anxiously wanted to return to reality. My anxiety drove me into flight mode, but a slow motion flight mode, a disorganized flight mode. A predator in pursuit would have found me easy pickings. I substituted dithering with action, with actually doing something.
While I did my mental gymnastics, Walter stared at me. Finally, I looked at him and said, you still willing to take me back? He said, yes.
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