“You know! I don’t live here!” Sandy harrumphs as she saunters, naked, back to her locker. The entire room erupts.
“I feel like I should get my money back if you’re not here,” L whines.
“You coulda fooled us!” P cries, giggling as she pulls her pink top over her damp self.
“I seen you the other day and I wanted to stop and talk with you, but then you disappeared!”
The Mayor of Oakland shakes her head, smiling to herself as she tosses Johnson’s Baby Powder under her arms, great billows of gauzy white cloud around her.
DL’s eyes widen in delight. The Oakland Y is a party tonight. Everyone is here. The Mayor of Oakland. The Writer of Oakland. The Utopians of Oakland.
P swallows hard. Damn. How can L be so blasé about it? Or is she? It’s hard to tell. There’s a mysterious serenity about her that is so attractive and yet…..there’s also this subtle wall that envelops her. P knows that part of this is simply because P doesn’t know her well, and isn’t this always the case with attractive people that you want to know? Yet, she realizes that what L is saying is true. If we don’t tell our ‘in jokes’ to others, if we don’t tell our stories, then these tidbits of narrative will just float away into the ether. And that would be such a shame.
P tries to write down as much as she can. She’s always wondered why she has this compulsion. It’s not like anyone is paying her. But yet, there’s this need, this almost visceral ache, to ‘get it down’.
“P, you must see my shoes!” L commands later, as they’re all rushing to get dressed. She stands up, readying to leave, turning her lovely leg to just the right angle to show off her latest footwear. “You will crack up. And you know, I live to make you laugh.”
“Oh, sure. These are nothing. Just like an Ace Bandage,” she chuckles.
“So, your ankles are supported like an Ace Bandage?”
“Yup. Just like.” And again that mysterious smile.
“Ah, see? I knew I’d make you laugh.”
“10 more minutes, Ladies,” Beleaguered Y Girl swoops through the locker room, slamming shut lockers and scooping up towels.
“The PA system is broken,” Sandy whispers conspiratorially.
“Really?” DL says. “I knew something was different….”
“ATTENTION YMCA MEMBERS AND GUESTS THE TIME IS NOW 9:55. THE YMCA WILL BE CLOSING PROMPTLY AT 10PM. PLEASE GATHER YOUR BELONGINGS AND MAKE YOUR WAY OUT OF THE FACILITY. I REPEAT. THE YMCA WILL BE CLOSING IN 5 MINUTES!!!”
P glances over at Sandy who’s laughing softly to herself, shaking her head.
DL giggles as they gather up all their stuff. “Nite Sandy,” P calls out. “Have a great swim on Easter Sunday! (Earlier they’d chatted about how the YMCA was closed on Easter—“Well, yes, it is, after all, the Young Men’s CHRISTIAN Association” Sandy had pointed out to P. Duh!)
“Where’d L go?” DL asks as they make their way out of the facility. There’s a longing in her voice. Abandonment? Surprise?
“I guess she already left,” P answers. “Too bad. I wanted one last gander at those shoes! They’re a crack up!”
DL laughs softly. She’s in love. Easy to fall in at the Downtown Oakland YMCA.