General Fiction posted January 6, 2018

This work has reached the exceptional level
Facing my fears.

I Left My Heart In San Franciso

by Sharon Meda

What Are You Afraid Of? Contest Winner 

The song says, 'I left my heart in San Francisco', well I left more than that in the summer of 2010.

My sister's 50th birthday was that June and I had decided to do something special for her. She has a fascination with visiting towns that are referenced in songs. When we're both retired, we plan to tour some of those places and blog about our journey. Our current list includes; Montego Bay, Moonlight in Vermont, New York State of Mind; you get the idea.

At the time of her landmark birthday she was hooked on San Francisco, so I booked two weeks off from work, and we drove my candy apple red Mustang convertible down the coastline from Vancouver BC to the home of the Golden Gate bridge.

The trip down was a lot of fun. We saw many sights, took pictures of the car in the giant 'drive-through' cedar tree, which has since blown down, and stopped at many points of interest. We ate a lot of fantastic seafood, and had some great laughs along the way.

We crossed over the Golden Gate and into the city at around 4:00 in the afternoon on the sixth day of our journey, and followed our map to locate our hotel. Of course, everyone knows that San Fran is a city on a hill, we've heard of the trolleys going up and down, films are shot with great chases with the air shots of cars bumping up and down those steep streets. What I didn't know about San Fran is that the city grid consists of mostly one-way streets.

We stayed on the main highway to the top of the hill and then tried to make our way down to the hotel on the other side. We encountered no left turn signs on every intersection until we had passed the street with our hotel. Many blocks later, we found ourselves back down at the water's edge, and finally, we could turn left. We headed back towards our destination. When we got to our street, guess what, no left turn. This time we could see our hotel as we passed by it. When we could finally make our turn, we went back up the hill with no more options to turn left until we were almost back to the main highway. Finally, a left and then left again and we were on the right street and headed towards our hotel.

The first block took us down a steep hill, and then the car leveled out into the intersection. As we nosed across the street, the concrete dropped away in front of us and all that was visible over that red hood was sky and water. I braked with my stomach in my throat. We sat there seemingly suspended over air and looked both directions. This time there was no right turn and no left turn; only one way to go.

I looked at Laura and said, "I don't know if I can do this". She offered to try, but she was as shaken as I was. The traffic behind us started honking so I took my foot off the brake, and very slowly edged the nose of the car over the abyss. At the next intersection I didn't stop, I had to keep moving. By the time we pulled up in front of the hotel, I was shaking so badly I could hardly get the car into park and take the keys out.

When we got to the front desk the clerk tried to give us a map to the hotel's parking lot a few blocks away. Laura and I blurted in unison, "Don't you have concierge parking?"

I guess it could have been worse, if it had been foggy I would have had to deal with two demons that day, the fear of driving off a cliff and the fear of driving over a vast expanse of water onto half a bridge (see pictures). I faced only one demon, but I really hope I never have to do that again. I left my stomach and probably more in San Francisco that day.

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© Copyright 2018. Sharon Meda All rights reserved.
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