July 6th, 2013
The way I heard it, two spinster sisters, the Allynes, lived in a victorian that occupied the large lot at the northwest corner of Gough and Green. Maybe it was an acre. Except for where the house stood, the property was thick with trees. Even redwoods. When the sisters died, they turned it over to the city for a park. We have some amazing parks, but for a few months of the year, this is where I go. With all its trees, and the tall the surrounding houses, the sun’s got to go pretty high in the sky to make the park as comfortable as it is beautiful. Yesterday was a good start for the Allyne Park season.
I bought a Blue Bottle coffee at the corner store and made my way across the street and into the open gates of the picket fence. Of the six or seven green-slat benches, two were fully in the sun. And I chose the most traveled one — which is to say it had two occupants. Three with me. I juggled my coffee, debated tossing the stir stick under the bench, but a place like this demands good citizenship. I put the stick in my bag, then I put on my headphones, picked out a podcast, and leaned back. A piebald beagle sniffed through the green meadow at the center of the woods.
After a bit, two white-haired women came by. Seventy plus. Had the Allyne sisters returned? These two were dressed in the fashion of old women from the fifties. One wore a heavy, coarse-fabric black overcoat. The other, a fitted jacket of a lighter material. An ancient looking pin of some kind fought with her purse strap. Like many older people, they were bundled up like it was February, not April. They stood in front of me for a few moments until it dawned on me that they would not be able to sit next to each other unless I moved to the end of the bench. With gallantry equivalent to the situation, I stood and offered them the center of the bench. The girls at the other end never looked up from their reading.
I closed my eyes and rested, full of the warmth a small good deed creates. When I opened my eyes, I turned to look at the women. They were in the midst of a kiss. Lips locked on each other, possibly – probably — an open mouthed kiss. Lots of movement. Deeply satisfying contortions. One closed eye — line-of-sight over the heavy black-fabric coat — opened as I continued to stare. Yes, the woman busted me, but she didn’t give a damn. She merely let her eye close, then, even more ardently, continued the kiss. I was caught snooping on the world’s oldest, most passionate lesbians.
(reprinted from April, 2010)