I will forever remember the smell. the smell of crisp air that wet from nights and nights of rain. the smell of rotting compost mixed with expired milk in cartons paired with the stench of deceased food and sauces from the restaurant nearby. I can only imagine the color of the fluids seeping out of the rusted, jagged corner of the green waste management trash cans. the big ones, with wheels and big black lids. and I’ll forever remember his smell- smell of sandalwood mixed with vanilla and a musk that I can’t quite articulate- the scent of pristine and opulence that I hadn’t known.
I walked along market street outside of the Orpheum theater, dragging my feet along the wet bricks without an exact destination in mind. I was tired. so tired- the fatigue clenching to the back of my thighs and the middle portion of my torso- that burning sensation kept knowing at me. I knew I had to keep moving, but to where? I knew it was going to rain soon- I could sense it but it was comforting to know it has finally stopped for a moment. my soggy socks were squishing against the brick through the enormous holes in my boots. I kept walking, curling my index fingers and thumbs to the arms of my jacket. I was so hungry. soooo hungry. so hungry that the Glide kitchens powdered eggs and watery coffee seemed so appetizing- how they repurposed gray trash cans loaded with ice and powdered milk and wheel them around the cafeteria to refill the huge plastic pitchers on each crowded table. it seemed so appetizing.
Marc would bring me food in the morning, after he showers and treats himself to those La Boulange bagel donations, and I hope he saves me one. or shit, two. I have to stay awake because he’s meeting me on Ellis and Polk. it’s going to be Saturday snd the sandwich man is going to make sandwiches for everyone which means I have to wait outside and hustle a single cigarette from the tourists until I see him again.
I kept walking, or rather, squishing up the street- my body felt like it was on an incline- but I know that it’s just my wet clothes sticking to my skin coupled with my three pairs of socks now sopping. the balls of my feet are tender and achy from the pressure of San Francisco. literally and figuratively.
I stop to rest at the bus stop and sit, watching sports cars and nissans drive by, SUVs and priuses splashing the ponds of water up and then back onto the sidewalk. a group of girls tip toe slightly slippery bricks in their stilletos as they cross market onward to SOMA night clubs. they cackle and laugh and the sounds are like harmonies to my ears- since I haven’t spoken to anyone in 2 days. not have I eaten in 2 days, and while my flesh is weak, my vanity feels on fleek now that you can finally see some rib cage. those girls though, they’re still laughing and it echoes through 7th street back to Market street and fills the silence of the streets.
I get up, and walk some more.
I’m at the civic center bart station entrance next to the chase bank, and I look down the steps. it’s murky and wet and smells like pee. I knew I should’ve went to Montgomery station, since that one is way cleaner and you can kind of feel the heat through the metal gates, and keep warm. I sigh, in frustration.
you ever know that feeling you get when someone’s watching you? except, in this moment I thought sure I was finally going mental, everything is just finally caving in on me. but I looked to my left, and I see a man smoking a ciggarette, standing at the bus stop. I looked back in his direction. he smiled and flicked his ciggarette.
I’m stunned that someone actually sees me. like not literally. y’all know what I mean. I’m sort of frozen like one of those animals on national geographic that noticed the camera. I’m too tired to move, but not willing to be stationery. it’s like a 20 minute argument I’m having with myself condensed and expanded into a mere 40 second moment.
he starts walking in my direction, looking both ways while crossing, one hand tucked into his jeans. he paces himself mid stride, and decreases his speed of his steps.
he stared intently, and I look back wondering if he’s going to attack me or talk to me.
“ohhhhhhhh” he says, eyes scanning me up and down and drifting his gaze down the street.
“wwwhhhhaaaa”, I clear my throat. “excuse me”?
“I thought you were a woman”, he says, averting his gaze from me, to the brick sidewalk. he fixes his mouth in this awkward position like he’s biting his bottom lip from the corner. he sniffles and snorts and brings his eyes back to me.
“oh yeah, sorry no” I respond. goooo aaawwwayyyy I keep thinking. but again, I’m frozen.
“you have a very beautiful face and such womanly lips”, he comments- drifting his gaze from me back to the ground and sniffles three times. as I’m writing this I’m like girl, you should’ve known he was high but I wasn’t that perceptive back then.
from this moment, he has decided to express his interest in me. and im completely flattered because I’ve been wearing the same wet soggy socks for 3 days straight in hand me down Payless boots, and I reek of mildew and I haven’t showered in 2 weeks beyond bird bathing it at the starbucks at fox plaza. he smells of sandalwood and his tshirt has a faint scent of gain laundry detergent. his breath smells of whiskey and cocaine, and he’s wearing loafers with no socks in the fucking rain which means he has a fucking coin bish.
he’s flirting as we were walking to Hayes valley and he’s telling me about how he’s from Istanbul and how I would love it there. I’m so hungry and conflicted and confused that I can barely comprehend what he’s saying.
“do you like sucking dick?” he asks, with a slight grin.
how’d we go from talking about partying to dick?
“umm….. sure… I mean yes I love it… but I need food” I mumble as we turn down streets. he frantically searched and visually combs through each block for a discreet hiding place.
“yes baby, I give you money for your time”, he says.
my stomach is already imagining the two spicy chicken sandwiches I’m buying as soon as I get this coin.
he finally settles for a dark area behind two dumpsters behind the opera house or ballet theater or whatever. the rain is starting to sprinkle.
now that we’re in this dark area, I notice he’s becoming a bit more aggressive, and he yanks my head towards his dick and he hurriedly unzips his jeans.
“cmon get on your knees” he demands, whilst looking over the dumpsters to see if any life forms are in the area. he looks down at me as I obey, my socks and soles squeaking from the position change. I feel the asphalt dig into my knees, and my pants are instantly a sponge for the puddles I just kneeled into.
he whips his long, thin dick out and I wipe the opening with my index and quickly run my fingers around the base playfully checking for sores or bumps in the dark. the scent of sandalwood and dank must fill my nostrils as I inhale his dick into my mouth. he groans, and tilts his head all the way back- his eyes squeezed shut and nose angled towards the moon as he slowly gyrates his hips- his dick stabbing my esophagus with each thrust. I’m choking, and he grips the back of my neck- his thumb clenching my collarbone uncomfortably. I keep choking, and pull up for air.
he stares down at me, and I look up at him. his hand eases higher- resting his palm on to my hair bun- his other hand yanking my breasts out of my shirt, and he twists my nipples until they’re hard from the pain and the air and he’s thrusting into my mouth. I can’t stop him from forcing me because he has my bun in his hand which means if I pull away my wig will fly off and I won’t get the money so I’m trapped!
he keeps groaning and tilting his head back towards the sky as he thrusts faster and faster- my gag reflex is screaming and caving in as he bucks and bucks and bucks harder and harder- each thrust paired with his aggressive groans and his biting his lower lip. I’m choking for real for real, and his grip on my hair and his other hand gripping my neck keep getting tighter and tighter with every thrust. the muscles in his thighs tense harder and harder and I don’t want to swallow so I finally grab his hand off my hair and pull up for air, and lightly backwash bom it from the gagging. he instantly snd forcefully grabs my jaw as I try to break free from his grip and he cums all over my face, my jacket and my neck.
it all happened so fast that I sat there kneeling in asphalt and puddles for about 40 seconds of being frozen. I want to scream. I look up at him using his handkerchief from his blazer to wipe his dick clean, and I put my hand out towards him as a request to use it next. I feel his semen stinging a corner of my eye, as I wince at him. he wipes his dick and balls squeaky clean and tucks his handkerchief back into packet. as I start to ask to use it, he presses a $10 crumpled bill in my hand and chuckles. he clears his throat- glancing at me one last time and without saying a word walks away.
my eyes darted every which way, to survey the scene. two large dumpsters and a peeling painted railing behind this opera house. I look down into my palm at the crumpled bill and use the arm of my jacket to wipe my face and neck clean. some of the cum is crusted on my forehead and throat area and won’t come off. I spit into the arm of my jacket and wipe hurriedly to get it off of me. I can still smell him, and taste him.
I stayed kneeled in the puddles, my knees grinding the asphalt, my mouth quivering from heart break. Was it heart break? Or was it ego break? My spirit and will to survive in the wild urban jungle was mutilated with a robbed pride. My innocence that I carried and cherished like young white girls with lockets of their deceased was shredded and crumpled, like the ten dollar bill I received moments ago. I could be optimistic and say that this very moment awoke me. I can be pessimistic and say that this moment broke me to my core. Daily it changes, because the incident either way is sealed into my mind and memory forever.
I wear sandalwood infused parfum with a hint of jasmine and vanilla just to be sure that I have a fragrant reminder to never be the dumpster again.