Tuesday, October 15, 2002
@ Halcyon | 6:52 PM
I had a couple of unexpected run-ins with the past today.
After finishing my last class and sitting outside holding mostly meaningless conversation with Tanner, Katie, and others out at the smokers’ picnic tables, I drove down to Halcyon to smoke cigarettes and drink a mocha. (My second time today. The first was between work and school around 11:30 AM — the ulterior motive for such an early outing, working underneath the understandable desire to spend a few minutes outside on the coffeeshop’s front porch in the crisp, finally Fallish air, was to see Carrie, a new employee, who I knew to be working the morning shift and have been considering asking out.) (Which I didn’t do today. Settling instead for a bit longer “get-to-know-you” period under our current employee-customer status.)
I parked at the State parking garage (dubbed the “Gayrage” by the Austin Chronicle due to its location on Fourth Street near the gay club district) and walked down to Halcyon. I ordered my drink and went into the smokeshop even though Mitch was working. I knew I could ignore him and read my novel (Richard Ford’s The Sportswriter) rather peacefully. And who was in the smokeshop chilling out? Wendi. Wendi from days of old — the summer of debauchery with British George back in 2000 — newly returned from Colorado where she’s spent the last couple of months. She was waiting to have the boot removed from her car parked outside. Unpaid parking tickets. Such a law-and-order town.
We spoke briefly, updating one another on our lives. She asked if I were still writing. “Two hours a night, usually,” I replied. She bummed a cigarette off me and wanted my new number. Said she’d call me later in the week for drinks. Her idea, and she voiced it repeatedly even to my face of disinterestedness. Then she left, off to get high and give a massage.
Mere minutes later, Danielle, who “dated” British George while he was in town, walked into the smokeshop. While I’d probably seen Wendi six months ago at the most (probably at Empanada Parlour before it closed), I hadn’t seen Danielle in a year or more probably. She came in and talked to Mitch but didn’t recognize me until a few minutes had passed. She then sat down wanting an update on my life, too. She left soon afterward.
Both Wendi and Danielle have lost a bit of weight, it seems. They used to be inseparable. Danielle was a lesbian who wanted to sleep with Wendi (I was smitten and wanted to date and sleep with Wendi — a desire long passed now). Now Danielle has a boyfriend she talks as if she’s been with forever. She still calls this place “Ruta Maya,” and it’s okay. She was a regular in the hey-day — not some pseudo-Ruta Mayan who caught it once or twice on its last legs but still insists on calling this yuppified environment Ruta Maya.
Odd to see them both in the old haunt on the same day minutes between entrances.
It’s been quite the while since I flashed back to the summer of that year; even this hasn’t caused much of a flashback.