Andy Brown
Mark Russell Finch

C all and call and call but you can't get back, although sometimes and more and more it seems like you should be able to. What is it my life is doing to me?
The thing with the woman who would become my wife didn't work out and it didn't work out a long time ago. It seems I should have a second chance. I want that girl I left back in 1968.
By then I had finally made it over to Marin. The street scene in Berkeley had gone to shit, the geezers and the bikers and all the people who hadn't been there three years before. Marin, for a hippie from Telegraph Avenue, was like a move to the suburbs for his parents. You could fool yourself it was the country and if you hitchhiked a little way out, toward the ocean, it was.
I was living with Antonia in a Maybeck house on Upper Road in Ross with a sprawling family. We took care of their kids, did chores, and cooked. For this we got a nominal rent on a large room with enormous casement windows and a porch and a place in the family.
I was playing with The Transatlantic Railroad and between money from the gigs and odd jobs I picked up and Antonia's sewing we lived pretty well for kids who didn't know any better.
One afternoon I was in the dark little house of Kent the rhythm guitar player alone with a girl who went to San Rafael High School and used to come to see the band, which Antonia didn't. Her name was Andy Brown.
She was medium tall, something pale, with six-inch brown hair and one of those chipper, sharply cut, intelligent faces I always fell for--one of those ones you could anthropomorphize--and an electric body, peggy.
I looked out onto a dark street drizzled with rain past the umber of a tree. I was thinking about Antonia but I was in love with Andy Brown. I turned to look at her, I can see her still, if indistinctly, muzzy. She is pressing her fisted hands together at the top of her chest, holding something that drapes beneath. Is it a blanket, a sheet, her garment?
I am thinking about the hitchhike back to Ross and something about sorrow. I am about to make a mistake. She looks at me and says, "Perhaps you should go home now before there's something to regret." And the thing that always struck me is that she said it afterward. She knew before but she said it after.
It was a mistake to go home and I want her back. Andy Brown.

First published: February 14, 1999