Tonight I walked home from the 24th and Mission BART stop. It was Valentine’s day, and the neighborhood celebrated by being outside.
Stores stayed open late. Perfumed Latino guys pushed and egged each other on, nervously buying flowers for sweethearts and would-be sweethearts. The bodas civiles joints lubricated their trade with sidewalk tables of cheap teddy bears wrapped in red cellophane.
I walked home in my pink dress. Women holding little girls walked by, clutching roses, boxes of chocolates. Women completed errands, hauled children, and bought food with the same grim determination, red cellophane emerging from their purses.
I saw a beautifully happy couple. Their little daughter ran up the sidewalk in front of them. I caught the man’s eye as I passed and saw satisfaction on his face.
More people were on the street than usual. More police were around. I saw two huge officers, giants. One had his hand on the back of a tiny fast-talking man. There was no sense of potential violence, just a solid hand on the back and a posture that clearly communicated that whatever jig there may have been was now thoroughly up.
There was music and the smell of onions cooking. The jazz club was setting up a show. As I walked home, buses drove back and forth full of people like me, heading home, and out, and home again.