Never/More

By Kristin Iversen

Essay

My father died last summer, and now I have his car. He didn’t leave me his car, but I have it all the same. What he left me was his music—his guitars and his stereo and his records and his tambourine that I had already taken years ago and have always kept in my bedroom. But he didn’t leave me the car. The car just kind of came to me. It’s a twenty-year-old Mercedes station wagon with an out of service car phone in a black metal holster. It looks like it ought to have a Bush/Quayle ‘92 bumper sticker on the back, but I’ve been told that a Puerto Rican flag on the dashboard would really recontextualize everything.

Los Angeles has caught a cold.

She sniffles, shivers and pulls her hills and canyons tighter, trying to brace herself against the chill.

“Man,” she says. “It’s, like, totally cold outside.”

She’s right.

Yesterday dawned with a blueish tinge. The air was crisp and clear under a sky of brightest blue. Even the smog had been frightened into submission, it was too cold for haze and the brown gases and sooty dust and slunk back up the tailpipes and chimneys from whence they’d emerged.

It was like a new world.

A clean one.

And so I went out.

Be-sneakered and happy I climbed the earthen trails of Griffith Park, winding under ponderous eucalyptus and umbrella fig-trees, bidding a chipper “good morning” to celebrities and stepping over piles of defecation from leashed Labradors and wild coyotes.

As I climbed I grew warmer.

My blood pulsed through my limbs and the pitiful, weakened sun climbed upon my back and bid me carry it along the paths. It was as light as a feather, but warm as a lovers embrace.

I smiled to myself, mystified. People often judge my city without knowing her, and it’s their loss, for she is truly beautiful. I looked around at this wilderness within a city and marveled that it had taken me less than a five minute walk from my Hollywood home to get here.

I climbed higher, emerging from the tree line just below the observatory.

It was open. I went inside. I opened my mind as it opened it’s doors, and suddenly I was just a speck in the cosmos.

In space everything is round.

We are surrounded by roundness.

We walk on a ball.

We breathe in round particles.

Dots.

Our tides and emotions are dictated by a globe.

I forget these things sometimes.

It was nice to be reminded.

My life, too, moves in circles.

Little orbits around big and small occurrences.

I spin around and come back to the beginning, then zip off in another cycle, on a different trajectory, but I always seem to come back to the starting point before finding another path.

This makes me happy.

I like to see circles in my life. It makes sense, somehow, to swing like the giant pendulum that hangs from the observatory…

… and to never be still.

I, on the other hand, don’t have a great machine with which to watch my life unfold.

To my knowledge there are no white-coated scientists observing me and making notes.

I do not think I am someone else’s experiment. But then again, I could be wrong.

Perhaps there are eyes trained down upon me, just as we have eyes trained skywards?

Perhaps there is a slot in our roof that slides back to reveal a giant telescope focused towards us?

Perhaps not.

In any case, here we are. Inexplicably.

Little dots on a bigger dot that looks like every other tiny dot out there….

… and it makes me feel charmingly insignificant.