Our second date was on your birthday, and it wasn’t really a date, but you got off work early and came to visit me in the wharf. I wanted to impress you, but not too much, and settled on Reese’s peanut butter cups and a limerick. We climbed halfway up the Coit Tower stairs so I could show you the world’s most random parking meter, tucked in a tangle of trees. On clear days you could see all the way to Oakland, but that day I didn’t look.
We talked about therapy and I told you I didn’t cry as often as I wanted to. I noticed the lines on your wrist then, about a dozen. There was no pattern to them. They looked like pen scratchings, like you were keeping score of an impossible game. I noticed another stray line on your upper arm. Later I would find them on your ankles and stomach too. Later you would tell me about the last time and the safety pin and how you’d never been scared for yourself until that moment.
But it was now and not then, and we sat on the bench and looked at the parking meter in the garden halfway up Coit Tower and I told myself, There’s a metaphor in here somewhere. In all that you are and all the lines that have crossed our skins so we could end up here together. The parking meter on our second date on your birthday offered, not promise exactly, or predictability, but a singular perfection because it was sweet and it was strange and it was you.