I went for a run after dinner, just as the sun dropped down behind the hill. It’s been hot here, unusual for October, and the creek is dry. I ran on the streets, which I never do, it makes my knees hurt and reminds me of the city. Cars sped by, a woman with too much perfume was walking the opposite way, I said hi and she kind of waved. Puffs of exhaust and perfume stained my lungs and clouded my head so I cut down a side street and headed for the creek. As I got closer to the creek I kept looking around for a port-o-potty because the air smelled like when I had to go pee at Cal games when I was little. It intensified as I reached the creek, my sweat breaking. Looking down at the dry bed I saw algae, browned with lack of water, a crushed styrofoam cup, some dulled metal scraps, a red sock. And flies. Little ones. Everywhere. It smelled like that one time my friend thought it would be funny to hold to plastic door shut so I couldn’t get out after I went pee at a Cal game when I was little.
I honked at someone on 580 a few weeks ago. I left for Tuolumne the next morning.
The city has this way of making you tell yourself that yes, this is the year, this will be the year I will finally start living. So you plan, make lists, buy some bronzer, read The Hunger Games, you open a savings account and cut out caffeine. Your eyes get all starry for a few weeks. This is it, you think. This is the time that all of these good habits will stick, you swear you’ll never get drunk again, this is the month you’ll find a man.
I should pick up this trash, I think, breathing hard on the dry banks. I look around for a garbage can. Not one in sight. Oh well, I think, I’ll come back tomorrow with a trash bag, I tell myself, yes, that is what I’ll do, that will be good. Walking away from the creek, the smell still feels like it’s on me, in my clothes, on my tongue. Into a small bush, I spit. The air is still heavy, and I take off running at a full sprint.