Vacaville.  A few days before I leave.

The girl says, “Do you want a beer?”  And it shouldn’t be that hard of a decision.  But I am just walking by.  It’s Saturday evening and I am on my way home.  There are a bunch of guys sitting on the porch laughing.  Friends of brothers of some people I probably once knew, but that I never really knew.  And I think to myself that I am leaving in four days.  And perhaps I do want a beer.

Then it becomes one of those nights where I wonder if my thirst for adventure is really quenched.  Because there are horses and bikes for sale on the wall.  And there is a country western band playing.  And the people know the words though they aren’t any songs that I have heard.  The Wild Wrangler Saloon with free pool on Saturdays.  A place that I’d passed a hundred times.  A place that I never expected to go into.

And when the older woman asks me to dance, I do.  But when she gives me her number, it is rather unexpected.  But then again I laugh silently mocking myself, “I am old now.”

And so the days wind down.  I don’t see everyone that I want to see.  But it is time to make my return.

San Diego.  Some days after I return.

A walk to the beach and familiar faces and memories of an old prayer.  In truth, I don’t pray a lot.  Because I don’t find myself wanting a lot.  But I tend to have faith that things will work out.  And they usually do.  But on that night I repeated a prayer silently over and over again.

“Please god, let her be wearing underwear.” (pause.)

“Please god, let her be wearing underwear.” (pause.)

“Please god, let her be wearing underwear.” (pause.)

And as the story goes she was.  Because it was already awkward.  My friends had guaranteed a freak show, but even they were surprised.  And after we ran, we found that we were all praying for the same thing.  (Although none of us are virtuous men.)  Which leaves one wondering about the power of prayer.  But then I think I’ll stick with faith.

And so I didn’t say hello to the familiar faces.  Because there are some things that I don’t need to return to.  Some things are better left to memory.

And Dead Mans Corner fades into history.  Because there is now Earthquake Corner.  Because there is now F. Brilliant.  Because there are now new days.  And feelings of ambivalence and vagueness return.

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