Saturday, 29 November 2008

27 November 2008

thing clicked in both our souls. In mine it was suddenly concern for a man who was years younger than I, five years, & whose fate was wound with mine across the passage of the shrouded years; in his it was a matter that I can only ascertain from what he did afterwards. He became extremely joyful and said everything was settled. “What was that look?” I asked. He was pained to hear me say that. He frowned. Rarely Neal frowned. We both felt perplexed and uncertain of something. We were standing on top of Russian Hill on a beautiful day in San Francisco; our shadows fell across the sidewalk. Out of the tenement next to Carolyn’s house filed eleven Greek men and women who instantly lined themselves up on the sunny pavement while another backed up across the narrow street and smiled at them over a camera. We gaped at these ancient people who were having a wedding party for one of their daughters probably the thousandth in an unbroken dark generation of smiling in the sun. They were well dressed, and they were strange. Neal and I might have been in Cyprus for all of that. Gulls flew overhead in the sparkling air. “Well” said Neal in a very shy and sweet voice “shall we go?” “Yes” I said “let’s go to Italy.” And so we picked up our bags, he the trunk with his one good arm and I the rest, and staggered to the cable-car stop; in a moment rolled down the hill with our legs dangling to the sidewalk from the jiggling shelf, two brokendown heroes of the western night and more to go. First thing, we went to a bar down on market street and decided everything---that we would stick together and be buddies till we die. Neal was very quiet and seemed a little subdued and preoccupied looking at the old bums in the saloon that reminded him of his father. “I think he’s in Denver…this time we must absolutely find him, he may be in County Jail, he may be around Larimer street again, but he’s to be found. Agreed?” Yes, it was agreed; we were going to do everything we’d never done and had been too silly to do in the past. Then we promised ourselves two days of kicks in San Francisco before starting off, and of course the agreement was to go by Travel Bureau in share-the-gas cars and save as much money as possible for what we were going to do across the land. We were also going to Detroit

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