Yesterday, I went down to photograph Darren, a friend in the Marina who just took a new apartment on Tahiti Way, one with water and boat views.
In the Marina.
I had been here many Sundays before.
When my Mom was alive, before cancer, still walking and living at 4337 Admiralty Way, I often pushed my visits to Sunday. I went down there, just as I did yesterday, and took her shopping, to get her car washed, into Target. We might stop at Ralph’s, pick up food, and I would broil pork chops, open a bottle of red wine, and watch “Mad Men” with her.
When it came time for me to leave, around 10, she would get up, stooped over, stand near the door and implore me to “please, please call me when you get home.”
And when I drove along the 90, up onto the 405, and passed those long stretches of green signs with fabled names; Washington, National, Santa Monica, Wilshire, Sunset; and descended, in speed or crawl, on that wide highway, back into the Valley, my goal was to always make it out of my car alive, without incident, to get back home and call up my mother and tell her I was home safe.
The winds were strong, the light was glittering, the cirrus clouds blew, the bent palms bowed.
Yesterday at 3, as I crossed Tahiti Way at Via Marina, I was back in melancholy, heavy-hearted, traversing the places I had spent the year last walking, pushing a wheelchair.
Three weeks before she died, I took her on a water taxi that navigated the man-made fingers of the harbor.
That day, her mouth hung open, oxygen starved. She was wrapped in blankets, her eyes were watery, she could hardly see.
The boat had turned up Basin B, along Tahiti Way.
This week is Thanksgiving, a day sacred and special, and the first where I have no mother or father.
I thought of that last night when I left the apartment on Tahiti Way and walked in the winds past places where flat screens and lights and laughter poured out of open sliding doors, a California night.