Underneath the fountain there was a staircase. It led to a chamber below the city center where we would meet several times a year. In privacy and confidence we would tell each other the worst things we knew, in secrets and ideas. And in a circle of salt and chalk we sat cross-legged, facing each other; we would light a candle and talk until it burned to the bare cement. Then we would light another candle, crack the body of a tied-up living bird open over a small ceramic cup we made together from clay and pieces of skin carved from now missing neighborhood house pets, and blood from the bird would fill the cup usually half way. We would each drink half of the filled cup and then hug each other because bonds like this don’t come too often in the lives of ex-addicts.
“Girl with Curlers, Los Angeles, 1949” By Ida Wyman
Summer Interior, 1909 by Edward Hopper