Sunday, 2:00 p.m., San Pedro.

For about 30 minutes I've been sitting in my folding chair between palm trees at Point Fermin Park. Earlier, I took out my bicycle from the trunk of my car, rode left on the street that hems the coast, turned right on Western Avenue and felt like I coughed up a lung going up the steep, curvy road toward 25th Street. I returned 45 minutes later. I'd come to Pedro to have breakfast with R, my buddy from college.

I'm facing the ocean, looking at the chest-high concrete wall that divides treacherous cliffs from a long sidewalk and healthy green lawns. A continuous row of Arabic-style stars are cut out from the concrete wall and give ticker-tape peeks at the overcast ocean.

A few minutes ago I saw walk past an Asian couple, a man and a woman in their mid forties. Maybe they're Filipino. They walked with a deliberate aimlessness. The man wore shorts, a t-shirt, flip-flops, and smoked a cigarette. The woman wore a bomber jacket vest and walked a few yards behind the man, making sure he'd not missed anything. The man bowed his head into an oil drum trash can. He found nothing. He moved on to the other trash can, diagonally to his right, and found disappointment.

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About 15 minutes before I'd seen a white woman in her early 50s, dressed very casually, clothes clean, shiny purse under her arm. She bowed her head above the trash can in similar adoration. She'd found three beer bottles, held them in her hand with a split-finger grip and spilled the remaining beer onto the grass.

And five minutes before that I'd seen a gray-haired man in a ponytail walk from his car and dump the bottles into the trash can. He shoved his glasses up the bridge of his nose and walked back to his car.

To my left there's a woman with wide hips, faded blue jeans and an amethyst-colored shirt sitting on a concrete bench with her back to me, reading a book.

To her right a Spanish-speaking family of five has laid out their aluminum foil lunch on the concrete table. Their orange and lime green soda bottles keep the wrappers from flying away. The mother's pulling meat from bones, laying it on tortillas and dripping a dark red salsa on it. The daughter's about 16. She wears tight dark blue jeans, a sweatshirt, primped hair and very high heeled shoes. The grandma wears a black veil that doesn't cover all her gray hair. The father's wearing a frumpy, white button down Oxford. The boy, about 9 years old, wears a basketball tank top. The girl's black high heels bother me. The are totally out of place. They're inappropriate.


Much farther to the left of these picnic tables a woman and a man embrace at one of the concrete tables in the nook of the concrete wall. Their kid, maybe four years old, plays with something under the table, on the table and moves to the grass. They French kiss. The man's sitting on the edge of the table top, facing her. The woman's sitting a bit below on the bench puckering up to kiss him, hungry.

The boy looks at the gliding birds, tries to climb the wall, and walks away in a slow zigzag.

The woman's gotten up. The man sits on the bench, she turns around and sits on his lap and leans her shoulders forward while still on his lap. Their part of the park's nearly empty. A person walks by every 5 minutes. She rubs her hips counterclockwise on his lap. His hands are wide open along the top of her legs. She turns her head slowly from side to side. She can't see the boy. She gets up dutifully. He points down the sidewalk. "¡-ando!¡Vamonos!" The boy turns around and walks back.

The couple starts kissing again. She's now sitting on the narrow edge of the table and opens her legs. He moves forward to kiss her. A group of about 9 people, several adults led by 3 teenagers, leaves their minivan and walks toward the wall. They head toward the nook with the French-kissing couple. The lovers are surrounded by the family, jelly-fish tentacles. As the couple and the kid walk past me I realize they're much younger than I thought, maybe 20 and 21 years old.

The woman in the amethyst shirt gets up and carries her book like a server does a tray, and takes out her car keys from her pocket.

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