Sunday, 10 August 2008

10 August 2008

He was being deliberately rude. I remembered the night he wouldn’t let us have our party in Denver; but I forgave him. I forgave everybody, I gave up, I got drunk. I began talking moonshine and roses to the Monsieur’s young wife. She was a real Parisian woman, about thirty five, sexy and aloof but warm and womanly. I piled indignities to the ceiling. I drank so much I had to rush out of the booth for a leak every two minutes, and to do so I had to hop over the Monsieur’s lap. Everything was falling apart. My stay in San Francisco was coming to an end. Henri would never talk to me again. It was horrible because I really loved Henri and I was one of the very few people in the world who knew what a genuine and grand fellow he was. It would take years for him to get over with. How disastrous all this was compared to the nights I wrote him in Ozone Park and planned my red line Route Six across America. Here I was at the end of America…no more land…and now there was nowhere to go but back. I determined at least to make my trip a circular one: I decided then and there to go to Hollywood and back through Texas to see my bayou gang, then the rest be damned. Temko was thrown out of Alfred’s. Dinner was over anyway so I joined him, that is to say, Henri suggested it, and I went off with Temko to drink. We sat at a table in the Iron Pot and Temko said “Sam,” he said, “I think I’ll get up and conk him.” “No Jake,” I said, carrying on with the Hemingway imitation, “just aim from here and see what happens.” We ended up swaying on a streetcorner. I never dreamed I’d be back on that same streetcorner two years later---and then again three years later. I said goodbye to Temko. In the morning, as Henri and Diane slept, and as I looked with some sadness at the big pile of wash Henri and I were scheduled to do in the Bendix machine in the shack in the back (which had always been such a joyous sunny operation among the colored women and with Mr.Snow laughing his head off) I decided to leave. I went out the porch. “No dammit” I said to myself. “I promised I wouldn’t leave till I climbed that mountain.” That was the big side of the canyon that led mysteriously to the Pacific ocean. So I stayed another day. It was

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