Sandy always told me that I wrote too much about myself. That I should look outward more often and inward less often. She was right, as she usually was, about me anyway. It was part of the reason we had been together for ten years, people don’t stay together unless they need each other. We moved to Santa Cruz together because it was the place she liked the best. Together we had searched a small cities around California after leaving Idaho. I had left with the intention of breaking up with her, she had left following me, assuming correctly that I would fall back into that comfortable thing we had together. We were looking for a place I could start my own picture framing shop. I preferred Santa Rosa but she was right in thinking Santa Cruz was a better art town.
So we rented a small duplex together- with great difficulty. Santa Cruz we learned was a very tough town to rent in, probably it is even tougher now. The landlords wanted to see all our financial details and past rental references, which we didn’t have, Sandy owned her own home in Boise. I really can’t blame them after witnessing what college kids can do to rentals; the parties, the unpaid rent, the damages. It was a tiny place with a kitchen placed between two small bedrooms, a bathroom off to the side and a small yard on one side. Sandy and I shared a bedroom and we sub-rented out the second room. We got a couple single mattresses and laid them on the floor. If we wanted to sit, we stacked them on top of each other. There was a small table in the kitchen where Sandy often sat, smoking contemplatively, blowing smoke out the window. She had a two cigarette a day habit.