I don’t feel well. I closed all the shutters in Leila’s room partly for the novelty, but mostly because I’m tired of seeing the sun. A thunderstorm woke me this morning and I figured it would keep raining all day—in fact I hoped it would, I haven’t seen rain in three months—but it stopped around noon and the sky has been clear since.
Beyond the closed shutters and ten feet below me is a little garden. I tried to get to it but an iron-wrought gate kept me from entering through the back door in the kitchen. When Leila gets home I will ask her where the key is. For now I am trapped inside this ancient house.
All day I have watched the light move across the sky, have watched the plants shake on this desk whenever I tap a single key on my computer. The air conditioner is on and the room is cool. The rest of the house is steamy and humid but it feels nice.
At this point I have had three cups of tea and a sip of Leila’s lukewarm Anchor Steam she took from a bar last night—a bar where you can get a haircut while you drink. I found an apple in the refrigerator and ate that too. It didn’t do much for me though. My stomach is so empty it hurts. I have considered walking to Cake Cafe a mile away to get something to eat. I haven’t been there in three years. I remember it being good. But I also feel fine here even with all that emptiness inside me.
And anyway the door is still locked, and I still don’t know what to do about that. I could open a top-story window and climb down but I don’t know how I’d get back up. If I fell I might break something. Despite the State of California’s near-daily insistence that I have health insurance, I don’t actually have health insurance. So I’m here.
The entire house shakes when a truck passes. At least a hundred have passed by today. I don’t know if that’s normal. I’ve only been here a day.
In the darkness Leila and I walked beneath gaslit lanterns and alien vegetation. She told me a cyclist was hit by a tractor-trailer just blocks from where we were. She said someone took a picture and she had seen it. The cyclist was decapitated and his legs were separated from his torso. People are getting raped and mugged too, she said. New Orleans, for all its strange beauty, is still mostly a lawless place. As we went along I scanned the blackness and the hidden places there for the ugly faces that would do us harm.
A complete stranger has just called. She says she wants to take me to a park. I told her I would go as long as she had me back by six-thirty. That is when Leila returns, and when the two of us will eat those little squares from Golden Gate Park just to see what happens.
Tomorrow I go to Lafayette. On Monday I go to Austin. After that I guess I’ll go home.