Quench

quench

I wake up with a parched mouth and after I brush my teeth I pour a pint of water from an alkaline pitcher, to balance the body’s pH level, pound it, pour another, drink it in two gulps. If I drink too fast or it goes down the wrong pipe I feel a sharp pain in my stomach. I follow these instructions – to drink two large glasses of water in the morning – because I read somewhere that it’s healthy – and, throughout the day, glass after glass of water. I don’t count. It’s good for the skin, I’ve read – hydrates the cells, cleans out the pores…later, we walk down Sunset Boulevard in the late afternoon, pedestrians in a city where everyone drives cars, past In-N-Out Burger’s red and yellow and white signs and symbols, a steady flow of cars passing through the drive-through lane, and, next to it, Hollywood High School, blocks of gray, a cluster of buildings, cracked, littered steps and generations of graffiti wiped out and tagged over, and repeated, like a palimpsest, railings I’ve watched skateboarders skid down, and, further on, past motels with neon signs that look like they’ve been there for decades as the boulevard and the neighborhood has morphed, with palm trees smothered in soot and smog, thick, hard branches but still dark green, and shrubbery cluttering the sidewalk, and as we walk, again, I’m thirsty, pound a bottle of mineral water and it’s as though the liquid evaporates after it passes my lips and I continue drinking even after I’m no longer thirsty.