I used to live a few blocks up, behind you, and around the corner. You can’t see it but up there is Joe Bar. It has cozy loft spaces for sitting and sipping coffee or wine or eating crepes, but they’re tiny and get hot in the summer.
The spaces, not the crepes.
Across the street from that is an empty brick building that used to be the Harvard Exit, a really cool independent movie house. I volunteered there once for TV5 during SIFF. I got a t-shirt out of it and met a cool chick who’s now married and posts baby pics on IG and I also saw an awesome surf movie I can’t remember the name of right now.
Next to Joe Bar is a restaurant that keeps changing hands. I don’t know what it is now, but it was at one point a fancy Spanish place I couldn’t afford to go to but swore one day I would.
It’s gone, and I never went.
Going down the hill, you pass the D.A.R., where sometimes there are weddings or other fancy events. I know because one evening I saw, from my apartment window, all the dressed-up young ladies and gents whooping it up in the street. I also saw a protest about student loans and some Hare Krishnas from that same window.
They weren’t going to the D.A.R. though.
And when the weather was nice, if I listened closely from my open windows, I could hear pianos playing and opera singers practicing their arias. That was from Cornish College of the Arts, across from the D.A.R. That was really cool. Especially when, at the same time, I’d been burning Nag Champa and drinking hot tea.
But when it was cloudy, wet and cool out, I kept my hoodie up, head lowered and walked swiftly downhill so as to avoid … the humans. I knew where I was going. And probably the rest of the five-to-ten-block radius was going there too, though I hoped not since I’d tried ever-so-slyly to time it so that didn’t happen.
I’d spent about three days straight in my apartment so maybe it was time to go outside?
I did’t mind seeing people, I just didn’t want to have to talk to them.
This was my only goal.
Otherwise, why would I walk down? I knew how my knees popped and my heart raced when I was trying to walk back up. Though I was convinced it did help my glutes. And again when it was nice out, I might bypass the coffee, or get an iced something or other, and walk a few blocks more down the hill and a street or two over to your left to sit in the sun on those steps around some apartment building or condos or whatever just so I could look out at the Space Needle and MoPop (formerly EMP Museum) …
… or simply close my eyes and pretend the passing I-5 traffic was really the sound of waves.
And when the mountains were in view, I knew.
I just knew.
Everything was going to be ok.