When I realized the gallery opening was in the city, I didn't even think about the fact that my son and I would be walking through the Tenderloin. Maybe I am immune to it. My son certainly was not. A confusing jumble of homeless folk, people asking for change, and individuals selling drugs on the corners. "I am glad we don't live here mommy". I had to explain to my sweet sweet son that I did live here. All the corners had ghosts. All the places reminded me of my past. The overwhelming smell of piss on a warm day was something he could not understand.
As we tried to get to the "better" blocks to walk on, we passed by a young man shooting up on the stairs to a doorway. He quickly turned to hide himself a bit. I quickly placed my hands over my son's eyes. "Don't look," I asked him. My son kept asking curiously what was going on. At that moment, I was completely disgusted. Not at the person shooting up necessary. I was disgusted with myself. I was disgusted that I was the person who used to shoot up absolutely any fucking where. I don't remember turning to hide myself if anyone (except the police) came by. I did not give a single fuck. I was selfish in that way. All I cared about (in life) was what that syringe could do for me in that moment. I would pull my pants down to get a hit. Puff my neck up in a car mirror. I just could not care. I did not even try. Here I am, at 7:30 on a warm San Francisco night confronting my past with an eight year old in tow. What have I done?
The show was a blur. The walk was a blur. We got some ice cream and talked and walked back to the train station. We went through some different blocks. I would point to different things to get his attention. He was fascinated by all the playgrounds in the areas where I used to sleep outside. I don't know what I could do differently. I just know that I can't change the past. I live with it, like the scars I carry around on my body. I had a good night with my son. But we both got a look at too many painful things for one trip to the city.