We return you now to a safe place. The street cleaners have passed. Street Cleaning Day, as so many other days, is behind us. We emerge from hiding spots, from secret locations, from places under other places. We step out into the street, and it is as though it is brand new to us. Certainly, it is cleaner now, but that is not all. We have survived all the way from birth to this very moment, and we look at each other, and some of us start laughing, and others start weeping, and one or two of us break out into a wordless humming song, and all of us mean the exact same thing.
Look at us. Look at us out in the honey light of the finished day. Look at us and rejoice in our sheer being. One of us turns to another, clears his throat, and puts a gentle hand upon the other’s gentle arm.
“I’ve never told you this,” that one says.
“What is it, Wilson?” says the other.
“Amber, you are all to me. Will you marry me?”
“Wilson! We’ve spoken maybe twice! Do you think we could start with dinner instead?”
“No. Yes. No, you’re right. I was confused,” says the one, although he was not confused.
“Think nothing of it. It’s forgotten,” says the other, although she thought many things of it, and had forgotten nothing.
And then a gradual movement towards Mission Grove Park, no orders or even suggestions given, and yet we all file to that central meeting place, put our arms around each other, grip tight, and then grip tighter. Some of us are not here. We leave space for them, space that has been emptied by time.
“I suppose I should say a few words to mark the occasion,” says one of us, tall, towards the front. He says nothing more. The City Council arrives, back from their long-planned Miami vacation, nudging those near them and talking about silver sand beaches and the food, oh, those Cubans know how to do it. Even they are accepted into the gathering, despite our usual fears, and we grip them too, as friends.
Night has arrived, ladies. Night is here, gentlemen. Night falls on our weary bodies. And night falls on you, too. You too have survived, survived everything up to this moment. Grip tight! Hum! Laugh! Cry! Forget nothing, and think many things of it. Good night. Good night. Good night.