A quarter, a dime, a dime, a dime, a quarter, another dime, another quarter. Forty three minutes and counting. I walk down 24th street away from my car. Folsom. Lucky. Treat. This is not my home town, but something feels like home. Taquería. Desayuno. Bakery. It took a cello lesson to get me to leave my apartment where I've spent too much time missing L. and holding hands with Sorrow. Abarrotes. Wash and Dry. Cross the street. Dodge a scooter. Taquería Guadalajara. Mexicatessen (what kind of a word is that?). My eyes still feel like I've been crying, but not from the cello lesson. Cello is the highlight of my life right now. Platanos machos. Mango. Tomate roma. Onions. There is a laundromat somewhere here in San Francisco named "Washatería", which makes me laugh out loud every time. I can never remember where it is, so I always watch for it. Cross another street. Fine jewelry. Lucha libre masks. A woman explains something to her son on a scooter, holding him by the arm, speaking sternly and sweetly. Corner market. Yucca. Mandarina. Chiles secos. Apples. Ajo. I'm starting to wonder if I missed the place when finally, there it is, across the street, the tortillería. Tengo que cruzar la mitad de la ciudad para encontrar tortillas buenas. I haven't been here before. I just got tired of Trader Joe's tortillas. Inside I'm overwhelmed by things I've never found in the US: queso cotija, queso fresco, masa, seven kinds of salsa, those pulpa de tamarindo candies I used to eat in Secundaria. I've never bought masa before, I don't really know what to do with it. I buy a pound anyway. I buy still-warm tortillas, some cheese, some salsa.
I walk back. Florida. Alabama. Harrison. I stop again for plátanos machos. Compro 5 mangos enormes, tunas verdes, ajo, cebolla, limones, cilantro. I forget the plátanos machos. A woman holds out an empty cup. I imagine trading her a mango for a story, but don't stop. I start to notice there are lot of murals here. Back at the car. Eight minutes left on the meter. I drive towards home. I get lost. I find myself on Diamond Heights Road, where I've driven so many times with L. My insides ache a little, but I know my way home from here. My cello is in the back seat. My warm tortillas are in the front seat. I accidentally left Sorrow in the Mission district. She must have taken a wrong turn. That's okay. She'll call me when she wants to hang out again.