Existing on a sunny day. The pond nearby gracefully trickles its music into my ears. It’s easy to write of these people who enjoy the sun with me: two cute girls who stare at me from behind large, beautiful sunglasses, with white tank tops lifted above their belly buttons, the suggestive postures they wear threaten to entertain the primitive parts of me; the mother and father who shield their baby from the sun, the stroller like some automobile they have crafted out of genuine love, it rolls so smoothly over the ground, they wouldn’t have it any other way, bumps nothing to these newly minted parents; the couple who feed each other grapes, how drab, how predictable, she looks at him with the eyes of someone who has fallen briefly into love.
The trees play shadow with me. A rising sun wanders over the world, and none of us care where it has been or what other parts of the world it has brightened; we are just happy it’s here, with us, on this Sunday afternoon, it’s been gone so long.
The park here in Barnes sits under the path of planes flying to Heathrow. I wonder what kind of passengers fly in those metallic planes, which glint in the sky like wearable diamonds. I contemplate the seriousness of planes for a time, and watch the wine in my bottle sink closer to the bottom. Everything about this cheap bottle of wine has pleased me: the way it plays with my imagination, and the way it makes pretty girls prettier, and the way it drinks me into a holiday mood.
My time in London slips slowly to an end. I kissed my Notting Hill flat goodbye this morning, and left the keys on the wooden cupboard so they can open the door for someone else’s life. The places I have seen since wandering to this London town have marked themselves deeply into me. I draw upon the memories and find myself chuckling here and there, thinking of the women I have met who have loved me for my accent and the buildings that have harbored my tourist intentions. I have juggled my time well here, watched my life ball lift into the sky, never letting it touch the ground, because life in the clouds is more preferable to life in the mud. All the tubes I have taken have weathered my California skin in a positive way, the scar on my arm from the time I cut myself in the pub and the shine in my eye from sauntering around Stonehenge and Stratford-Upon-Avon and the Globe Theater and Westminster Abbey and Wembley Stadium have taught me how to wear a global cape like I am the albatross bringing winged tidings to the life I have meant to live.
I wonder where I am to go from here. What city will capture my inspiration, or build upon the advancing maturity I have slept with on nights when the London moon shipped itself into my window? Is there a word better than forever? Is there a way to bottle up life experiences so you can drink them, alone, and find intoxication anew? Can I place a label on my London life and sell it for an American price that will allow me to find peace of mind and strength of character? And what of the days drifting along cobblestone streets and through historic archways until the welcoming light and banter of a pub draws me in? What of sprinkling laughter on a bagel in a café near Hyde Park, or slipping in the rain and slipping on girls who find me entertaining and who laugh at my sincerity like I am some grand comedian the world has always waited for?
I understand the sun on days like this: why it has to sleep during the night to recharge its light, and why it breaks in the morning, eager to repair any damage the moon has left. I understand why the girl sits next to me and unbuttons her blouse, her blue bra trying to get a rouse of out of me because the sun, for her, is a way to showcase her brazen shoulders and brown hair that flirts with the wind. She takes a swig from my bottle of wine, and pulls out a bottle of her own, talking to me in partial nudity, confident in the curvature of her chin and the flexibility of her dress, as if a photographer would be lucky to frame her timeless beauty. She tells me it’s a shame I am leaving. Maybe I should have met her months ago, or maybe she is just another impartiality I have fallen so delicately in love with. And in these waking moments, when the splendor of this sunlit park congratulates my desire to fly so far to sit on its grasses, when the children playing football remind me of endless energy and compounded happiness, when the strap of this girl’s bra slips over her shoulder and her tantalizing smile grips me in places where literature rarely goes, I find a calmness settling in to my California bones, like the marrow within me has cemented itself with contemplation, and strengthened itself with the adoration this beautiful brunette drapes over me, and I wonder why it has taken me so long to live a solitary life so freely, so exuberantly, so positively outrageous.
Then the sun drifts behind the clouds. I unroll my jeans and pull the leggings from my knees to my feet. I think about an outhouse, but prolong the urine waiting its turn so I can live these minutes a little more desperately. The girl takes a photo of me in between cloud shadows and sunshine, and says she will remember my name and where I come from, and deposits her number in my phone, I probably won’t call, but she knows that, almost like it’s more crucial for her to give herself a chance in numbers than to let me slip away, like the sun, which comes out on days when meeting a Californian boy is more important than saying nothing to a man who smiles at the way she dips in and out of infatuation.