“A man destined to drown, can never burnt.” – Regina Spektor
One of the first thought that comes to Gio’s mind this morning is the next door’s pizza he ate last night. But perhaps that’s because his fingers still smell like pizza and the same hand was covering his face all night from San Francisco winter coldness. He doesn’t mind, since the smell of pizza lingers to the memories of warmth. But still, he concludes that the crust was too unapologetic, mercilessly dries out his throat. It’s a cold and old pizza. Although, he did also crave for something more particular, something more soury, more awaking—whatchucall it–sourdough.
Feeling restless, he sits up and digs his pocket for a pack of cigarettes.
He is still sitting down under the barber shop window, still looking for his cigarettes, when he hears hasty footsteps that get increasingly louder. It’s Ray and his pitbull, coming out of San Francisco fog.
“Good morning! Looking good, Ray! What are you up to this early?” Gio’s rusty voice thunders the tranquility of morning, almost breaking the fogs away. Ray walks gleefully, perhaps a bit too gleeful in comparison to his smoldered-in-dirt coats.
“…to be euthanized.” A bright smile ends Ray’s sentence. He gives a salute with his “Who? Your pitbull?”
“Hahaha… I’m gonna go first, and then my pitbull…”
Gio looks at the pitbull who is just standing still—his tiny front leg hanging awkwardly, his mouth closed. He then takes a pause to find his cigarette. When he finally found it, he clips it in between his fingers.
“So… what? Euthanize?”
“Yeah. Haven’t you heard? There’s this thing… where you go to these people to be euthanized. So you’re done with this hell.”
Gio ponders the last word for a second.
“How you mean?”
Ray shrugs. “That’s why I’m going to try. Well, there’s no try.”
“Who’s doing it for you?”
“I don’t know, these people from the government or private, I guess. I don’t know. But they’re legit!”
“They want you to kill yourself?”
“Welll….” Ray pauses and glances over his pitbull. “No. It’s your choice. But if you want to die, you can do it peacefully, forget these drugs and guns. They’re gonna arrange the cemetery and everything. For free! The point is, we are scums! Look at us. We are trash and dusts and dead skins. So if you want to end it, go to them.”
They exchange look for few moments. One breathing out, the other breathing in.
“Hey, so if you are doing that, can I take care of your pitbull?”
Ray goes silent. And his silence seems to extend to the quietness of their surroundings. He looks at Gio with despair, questions, and anger.
A sudden cold air hits Gio’s cheek. “Ok, I’ll see you when I see you, Ray.”
Gio watches him until he is engulfed by the fog.
He moves his sight away from Ray and his pitbull and notices that this quiet district has slowly come alive. He hears mumbles of conversation that seem to travel from a very, very distant place. And people seem to walk slower than the usual. Distant chatters, slow walks, and fog….
He lays his back against the wall, unused cigarette in between his fingers, and ponders if he should sleep few hours more, but he soon decided to enjoy the slow morning before it abruptly shifts to a fast day. He looks up, trying to find the blue sky, and in this mind voyage, he starts thinking about the weather, the fog, the golden gate park trees, the smell of bacon, hamburgers, and he decided that today is a good day for a quick cold, cold pizza.
San Francisco, Summer 2014